One of my biggest disappointments of 2005 was when PELICAN decided to take a stroll down Post Rock Alley, leaving behind the riff-heavy Drone of yore. As the band drifted down the forsaken path of shoe-gazing Hipster Rock, I could only think to myself "Eh, at least I'll always have "Australasia" and the "Untitled" EP." Thankfully, I have now discovered CAPRICORNS, a band different enough from PELICAN to not be accused of any level of plagiarism, but similar enough to satisfy that craving for the almighty riff-based Drone.
Decidedly more Metal than PELICAN, CAPRICORNS root themselves firmly in Sludge Metal, catharting themselves into twisted riffs and then bludgeoning you with them ad nauseum. The record is almost entirely instrumental, except for one line in "1946 The Last Renaissance Man," and the sore thumb track, "The First Broken Promise." Not only is that latter track the only one here to not begin with a year, but it also differs by having a good bit of whiskey-soaked, drunken howling atop jangly Sludge chords and a whole lot of dissonance. Despite these differences, the song still flows well with the rest of the album, which coheres as one big slab of dirty riffery.
CAPRICORNS are a promising group and this record will definitely be getting some rotation. It's nice to see a mostly-instrumental, riff-based band come out that doesn't completely ape PELICAN, but actually has a sound of their own. CAPRICORNS definitely fit that bill and will appeal to a vast smattering of Metalheads. (Online April 25, 2006)