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Greetings! My name is Matthew, and I love to listen to all types of metal. I'm a high school English teacher and aspiring writer. I also write reviews for the Metal Utopia webzine!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Captain Roselyn - "My Surrender is a Victory" Review

Captain Roselyn – My Surrender is a Victory
Genre:  Chaotic hardcore


Jonas Brunsnæs (drums)
Morten Storgaard (guitar)
Kim Song Sternkopf (vocals)
David Østergaard (guitar – live)
Levi Rauff (bass – live)

Captain Roselyn hails from Denmark and has just recently released their debut EP called My Surrender is a Victory.  The band plays a blend of hardcore that often includes jarring chords and harsh riffs.  Throw Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest-era Zao, early Norma Jean (Luti-Kriss), and The Chariot in a blender and you’ll get something like Captain Roselyn.  Although the band borrows from all of these bands, they also bring their own outlook to the table.  For example, I can’t see any of these other bands writing the melodic chords that appear in “To Finish the Race.”  Sternkopfs’ vocals are also reminiscent of Dan Weyandt of Zao:  both of them have that gurgling, high-pitched, almost inhuman voice. 
            My Surrender is a Victory is self-produced, but the quality of the songs is actually quite good.  You won’t find any clipping here.  A dark but vibrant vibe runs throughout the album, mixing enthusiasm and dissonance.  I have the feeling that like The Chariot, this is one of those bands that would be phenomenal to see live.  The guitar playing on the album is quite rhythmic in nature, as might be expected of any band adhering to the hardcore genre.  However, Storgaard doesn’t fall into the trap that a lot of guitar players do – he doesn’t simply repeat the same riffs over and over.  There’s enough variety to keep the listener interested throughout the course of the EP.  The drums are proficient overall; more variety in the percussion section would have been welcome.  The album begins with the sound of a plane flying overhead, and immediately launches into the fray with “A Place of Reaffirmation.”  One of the highlights of My Surrender is a Victory is the song “Iron Sharpens Iron.”  Spoken vocals and a churning melodic guitar riff make the track memorable.  The title track is notable for a section that slowly builds in intensity – both in overall dynamics and tempo.  Captain Roselyn has an Extol-esque way of making simplistic but effective driving guitar riffs that serve not as background filler, but as paradigms of melodic ecstasy.  This can be seen throughout the album, but particularly on “To Finish the Race.”  

            The lyrics are very straightforward and hearken back to the spirit-filled hardcore scene of the 1990s and the early 2000s.  I could see these no-nonsense lyrics being used by bands such as Strongarm or Few Left Standing.  There’s a theme of both spiritual worship and change running throughout My Surrender is a Victory.  The title of the EP should have given us a hint – but if there’s any doubt left, the last lines of the closing song will serve as evidence:  “Your reign is forever.  Your reign never ends.”
            So what’s left?  Overall, this debut effort by the band is an enjoyable listen.  There were a few things that the band could improve on, however.  If they’re really trying to push the “chaotic” part of hardcore, then I would have expected more asynchronous riffs and drumbeats.  The dissonance in terms of sound is there, but I wanted more notes on off-beats.  When used correctly, I believe that this will give Captain Roselyn that “chaotic” sound that they’re searching for.  My other complaint is that it was too short!  There are only two songs on the EP that are over 3 minutes in length.  Even if it’s not a full-length, I like some meatier songs in the 4-5 minute range.
            The final verdict?  Captain Roselyn is a young band, but they’ve got the right idea and I believe that they are headed in the right direction.  If you like any of the bands that I mentioned in this review, or are a fan of hardcore in general, then you should take a listen to this band. My Surrender is a Victory is a solid debut album that deserves more listens, and I will be interested to see what the future holds for Captain Roselyn.

Overall rating:  7.3 out of 10.0 (Excellent)
Musicianship:  7.5 out of 10.0 
Song structure:  7.5 out of 10.0
Album structure:  7.0 out of 10.0


How did I come up with my rating?  I rate the following categories:  musicianship, song structure, and album structure.  I then take an average of these three scores and come up with an overall rating.

1.0-2.9 (Poor:  musicianship is poor, song structures are haphazard, no directional flow)
3.0-4.9 (Good:  musicianship is sloppy, song structures are undeveloped, flow is hampered)
5.0-6.9 (Average:  musicianship is adequate, song structures are good, flow works most of the time)
7.0-8.9 (Excellent:  musicianship is very good, song structures are thought out, songs connect well)
9.0-9.9 (Superior:  musicianship is superb, song structures are varied, flow is almost flawless)

Note:  Ratings may be given in increments of 0.1 for a final score (rounded up) and 0.5 for individual category scores.  I will never give a rating of 10.0 because I do not believe that any one album can be "perfect," and the ratings at either end of the spectrum will be very few.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot Matt!!