By The Great Sun Jester

Scandinavian hard rockers Captain Crimson have released their second full length studio album, "Remind", through Small Stone Records and the ten song collection represents a significant leap forward from the inspired, but ultimately more imitative, first steps they took with their debut album "Dancing Madly Backwards". The songwriting on the newest affair moves much further into their own signature realm where a variety of styles are colliding in even more personal ways and transforming into something uniquely their own. Another factor playing heavily in their continued evolution is the added live work the band has logged since their first album’s release and addition of a new bassist during that same period. The band features Stefan Norén on vocals and rhythm guitar, Andreas Eriksson on lead guitar, Mikael Läth on drums, and Chris David on bass. 

The opener “Ghost Town”, appropriately, doesn’t immediately come into shape. Slide guitar and drums duel in the first seconds before the full band charges in. The song has a hard rock swagger that doesn’t overstate itself; the riffs are kept melodic and concise. Norén’s vocals has a gritty rock quality more so than a bluesy yowl, but he’s more than up for the challenge of the song’s rough and tumble swing. “Bells from the Underground” much more clearly channels the band’s hard rock energies and talents. It is also illustrative of how far the band’s songwriting has developed. Captain Crimson identifies with a number of modern bands from the European scene like Graveyard and Blues Pills, but the music and lyrical content for this track shows how much they’ve staked out their own style. “Love Street” is more straight up hard rock and raunch with some great riffing and more of Eriksson’s often sizzling lead work. It has a stronger commercial edge than the first two tracks but never goes too far in that direction. The song is certainly well built for live performance and a likely crowd pleaser.

“Black Rose” is a methodical riffer with an impassioned vocal. Norén and Eriksson are a formidable guitar tandem and the former consistently lays down a solid foundation for the latter to excel with his coherent soloing. Eriksson doesn’t turn in a single needless instrumental break on the whole album; everything is tailored to serve a melodic purpose and it adds something to everything he touches. The rhythm section of Läth and David get their chance to shine brightest on the title track. The verses slowly boil thanks to the tension they create before erupting with each chorus. Läth counts the band in on the song “Let Her Go” and Captain Crimson launches into a fantastic churning riff that the band rides into a powerful bridge and chorus. 

The finale “Senseless Mind” has some unusual guitar work for the genre and takes a little while to work up a head of steam, but when the band finally unleashes the song’s full energy, it makes for a rousing conclusion to "Remind". Captain Crimson’s time on the road, increased chemistry, and commitment to growing as songwriters has paid off with a fully realized sophomore effort and establishes them as one of the most promising hard rock bands to emerge in recent years from the European continent