It’s wild to think 35 years after the release of their debut LP ‘Roadkill’, Capital Punishment are readying new material via Captured Tracks, an expanded version of the original. The quartet’s 1982 album has become something of a cult classic; it wasn’t until the band quizzically looked on Discogs, that they saw that the record they made as high-school kids has been living a life of its own without the band knowing. The four-piece’s new body of work, some three decades later, was birthed from sessions to create bonus material to support ‘Roadkill’s reissue via Captured Tracks. The NYC collective enjoyed getting back into the studio so much, they decided to saddle up again and the creative process spawned material that flits from mechanical post-punk to dreamy, ethereal soundscapes.
‘Confusion (2018)’ opens the EP; it’s a reimagining from a ‘RoadKill’ track – a tightly wound post-punk melee, that commences in a stripped back manner, all jagged guitar riffs and precise drum beats before erupting into a wall of sound that’s matched by Roebling’s deathly howl. The EP’s curtain raiser is littered with fidgeting nuances that give it a metallic, kinetic energy. Imagine if Kraftwerk incorporated drums and guitars into their digital domain and we’re a bit unhinged. ‘Drumming Out Time Inside Me’ shifts Capital Punishment into a hazy soundscape, Roebling’s voice is almost childlike as guitars and bass waft like dope smoke around those ever present, robust drum licks. ‘Hot Love’ incorporates razor sharp riffs and a more aggressive approach, that’s typified by Roebling’s devilish vocal style, and purrs with a sinister menace. Capital Punishment then tear away the visceral energy of ‘Hot Love’ for ‘Grey and Illuminate’s elusive hue, it’s a song that appears to be made up of vapour like textures, but this tender approach is soon usurped by ‘Shannon Rose’s guttural assault. This is where the four piece adopt an industrial rock penchant to make Marilyn Manson jealous; Roebling sounds at his most demonic while a rush of caustic noise matches him punch for punch.
The recording process for ‘This Is Capital Punishment’ was an unorthodox experience for all concerned, due to busy schedules the four members recorded either in small groups or independently, with vocalist/guitarist Kriss Roebling binding everything together. Roebling has been quoted “Nobody was told exactly what to do for their parts, so each member's contribution had a marked effect on the direction the songs took, and what ultimately, they developed into” which make the band’s new EP an even more exciting proposition, given it’s sporadic, patchwork quilt like inception.
Time can have a funny habit of throwing up unusual circumstances and I’m sure Capital Punishment never thought they’d be getting the band back together 35 years after going their separate ways but given how invigorated they sound on ‘This Is Capital Punishment’ it’s a shame they didn’t regroup sooner. Oh yeah, before I forget, the band’s stickman is Ben Stiller – that’s pretty fucking cool isn’t it?!
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams
Looking for something new to listen to?
Sign up to our all-new newsletter for top-notch reviews, news, videos and playlists.