Captain Beyond - Dawn Explosion

Captain Beyond – Dawn Explosion

85 / 100

There is nothing overly spectacular here, but still consistent, Captain Beyond had largely left behind the psychedelic and space rock imagery and music and opted for a more basic hard rock style, although the older elements do surface in areas.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Captain Beyond
ALBUM: Dawn Explosion
LABEL: Warner Bros
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Willie Daffern – vocals * Lee Dorman – bass * Larry Reinhardt – guitars * Bobby Caldwell – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Do Or Die * 02 Icarus * 03 Sweet Dreams * 04 Fantasy * 05 Breath of Fire, Pt. 1 – 2 * 06 If You Please * 07 Midnight Memories * 08 Oblivion * 09 Space Interlude * 10 Oblivion * 11 Space Reprise

WEBLINK: Site Link


For enthusiasts of the cult supergroup Captain Beyond, ‘Dawn Explosion’ is considered the least worthy of the bands three efforts, but right now this is the sole album of the band in my possession, which might be a shame when most consider the 1972 debut as the truly essential Captain Beyond album to own. Captain Beyond came together originally with ex Deep Purple vocalist Rod Evans, along with ex Iron Butterfly members Dorman and Reinhardt, while Caldwell had played with Johnny Winter.

Captain Beyond’s debut is considered a prog rock masterpiece by most as is the followup, 1973’s ‘Sufficiently Breathless’. Things went sour along the way, with various lineup shuffles and in 1974 the band apparently folded. In 1976 the band reformed, minus errant Evans, owing their label one more studio album. The result didn’t live up to expectations from what I’ve learned, with Evans much missed, although it would be unfair to slam this recording, it’s a competent late 70’s rock outing by all means.

The Songs

Nothing overly spectacular here, but still consistent. Captain Beyond had largely left behind the psychedelic and space rock imagery and music and opted for a more basic hard rock style, although the older elements do surface in areas.

There are some noteworthy moments, check ‘Icarus’ out for some mystical heavy metal that shames Rush for example. The chorus intentionally soars as high as the song’s subject and is indeed fantasy metal, which is ironic as ‘Fantasy’ follows two tracks later, heavy rock with the riffs to back it up. True 70’s hard rock never sounded better.

‘Breath Of Fire I’ and ‘Part II’ provide the type of continuity the debut provided, although the slower more draining second part is the more intense listen. ‘Oblivion’ at only two minutes is a breathtaking fusion instrumental a la Mahavishnu Orchestra with some vicious guitar work from Reinhardt. More of this would have been appreciated.

‘Sweet Dreams’ is dreamlike, conjuring up the space aspect, as does the self explanatory ‘Space Interlude’, full of assorted space effects. All things taken into account, this is a very good album, although I’m sure there will be complaints of it not being able to hold a candle to the earlier material by some readers.

In Summary

The band toured behind the album, but Daffern didn’t last much longer and soon after it was curtains once again for Captain Beyond. In 1999 the band made an improbable comeback with Caldwell at the helm, a reformation of his equally admired Armageddon not working out either. A tribute album was also issued several years back, and one which I received but duly forgot about! A sign of the esteem Captain Beyond are held in to the present and with good reason.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Do or Die

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