Kapnas – Kapnas Review

I’m about to slap some reality upside your noggins. Ya ready? I don’t care how kvlt, how tr00, how grymm,1 or how br00tal you make yourselves out to be. I really don’t. Because at the end of the day, the sad fact is we were all young once. We’ve all said, done, and worn things we aren’t necessarily proud of. Pants with legs that can hold a family of five comfortably? Yepper! Wallets with chains longer than an average CVS receipt? Been there, done that, got stuck on way too many things walking by. What I’m saying is that… well, in all of our lives, some cringe has happened. It’s unavoidable, yes, but we’ve moved on. Or at least some of us have. That leads us to the self-titled debut from masked Montreal “funeral doom” duo, Kapnas.

Problem #1: please note the quotation marks around the words “funeral” and “doom.” This is not really doom, nor is it in any way near funereal, dirge-y, or anything even remotely resembling one of my favorite genres besides the excruciatingly long song lengths (which I’ll circle back to). This has got more than a subtle whiff of nü-bounce to it, especially in the poorly-programmed drumbeats by bassist Brustrella. From the self-titled opener to closer “Budrum,” the David Silveria worship rears its ugly head in the worst, inopportune times, and usually without any rhyme or reason, and that’s because…

Problem #2: …there’s no coherent flow whatsoever between or within songs, due to the poor musicianship on display. Neither Brustrella nor guitarist/vocalist Kapnothios can play their instruments competently, and whenever they happen upon something resembling a riff, it’s pedestrian, middling, and stretched out further than a scene kid’s earlobes on literally every track on here, as if Saint Vitus smoked themselves into such a stupor that they forgot what the fuck it was they were supposed to do. “Odd Times Ahead” is a handful of boring riffs pulled beyond the breaking point. “Dismal Nostalgia” would cure insomnia if it were an instrumental. “Signs of Life” drags on and on and on until we are *ahem* “greeted” with the worst guitar solo I’ve heard all year. Don’t even get me going on the sixteen-minute “epic” “Slo Dth 22,” performed at 22 bpm, which is basically Forest of Equilibrium-era Cathedral if they all suffered a lobotomy.

Problem #3: The vocals and the lyrics. HOO-BOY. Kapnothios operates in two modes. He has a “clean,” nasally, whiny, almost ookie-spooky talking voice that would fit in with any Insane Clown Posse-affiliated band, and he has a decent-enough growl that’s sadly clearly enunciable. I say “sadly” because these lyrics… oh god. Lemme spoil shit for you: every song on here, and I mean every song on here, deals with dying, wishing to die, death… and smoking pot. I’m not kidding you. And it’s all with the remarkable depth of a sink that’s got water an inch deep, and that’s only because there’s hair clogged in the drain, and the water is starting to smell really, really foul. None of this provokes deep thought, nor does it challenge or captivate, unless you find the idea of someone feverishly growling “COMA SLEEP! COMA SLEEP! COMA SLEEEEEEEEEP!!!” over Roots-era Sepultura riffs and jumpdafuckup beats, like near the end of “As Sudden As the End,” challenging or captivating.

So here it is. 61 minutes of life I will not get back under any circumstances, and easily one of the most cringe things I have ever experienced, and as someone who lived through modern-day Nergal, and has a neighbor who subjected me2 to Corey Taylor’s debut solo album, I know cringe when I hear it. There’s nothing “funeral” on here unless you count being bored to death. There’s nothing “progressive” of note unless you count not being able to play an instrument well enough except for that rare instance when you happen upon a lucky melody or some shit. Instead, we have a masked duo that joins the likes of other famous masked groups like Mushroomhead, Slipknot, and the mainstream metal review sites’ favorite cilantro of the moment, Sleep Token.3 But at least those bands offer something of note. This clearly doesn’t. Puff, puff, and pass this one by.

Rating: 0.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: v0 mp3
Label: Unsigned/Independent
Website: kapnas.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: June 30th, 2023

Show 3 footnotes

  1. That’s me!
  2. Unwillingly, mind you.
  3. I was born without that particular enjoyment gene, but hey, you do you, as they say.
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