Review Summary: Band should have been huge, jam their first two albums hard.
Captain Beyond’s debut self-titled album is one of the best rock records ever made. It’s a hard 5, an instant 5, and I’m Goddamn AGHAST that I only recently discovered it instead of inhaling its sprawling, rifftastic tasty jams for the past 20 years. Captain Beyond was a quasi super group with a dude from Deep Purple here and a few burnouts from Iron Butterfly there and they sound like a Sabbathy/Creamy/Purply/Butterflyish/Floydish/Zeppish/Spirit-like mishmash that inherently just rules. Their shred-tastic debut psychs really damn hard and is one of the greatest records to get decisively ripped to, mostly because it riffs violently and all of the songs brilliantly segue into each other and its a Goddamn brain clobbering experience to imbibe it all. A cerebral juggernaut, if you will.
“Sufficiently Breathless“ is a masterful follow up, but achieves distinction in an entirely different way. The S/T is the perfect accompaniment for getting unabashedly lambasted by the frontal cortex annihilating method of choice, while this is more akin to nursing a skull-cleaving hangover. “Sufficiently Breathless“ is awash in a more acoustic chill vibe, favoring breezy, proggy Santana-meets-Floyd type jams over the riff-tastic might of its predecessor, but that does not detract from its potency. Most of these songs Santana really Goddamn hard, particularly closer “Everything’s a Circle“ and “Evil Men,“ occasionally venturing into shred territory but primarily staying true to a tranquil atmosphere. “Bright Blue Tango“ invokes the side of Cream that liked to ballad hard, and “Starglow Energy“ is a serene all-timer that wouldn’t be out of place on “Wish You Were Here.“ “Distant Sun“ and “Drifting Into Space“ are the only quintessential rockers, and both employ the same well-constructed ethos found throughout the record.
Captain Beyond imploded after their first two albums, a dismaying end to something that should have been unequivocally massive. Both the S/T and “Sufficiently Breathless“ are essential albums to anyone who is into classic rock or are devoted to the enhancement of their own consciousness. It’s a shame Captain Beyond fell prey to the tired cliche of clashing rock egos, because they should have become a f*cking titanic band in the annals of rock history.