ALBUM REVIEW – “The Dream State” By Captive Son

After years spent languishing untapped in various bands and projects, Aaron Mong, Grant Starkey and EJ Boutieller have finally made it.  The three core members of Captive Son each can lay claim to a whole lot of small town scene fame, but apparently they knew they were meant to make something in a very different direction than where the local scene was sending them.  The result is something very special.

     The Dream State is the best thing to happen to the Hagerstown music scene in a very long time, plain and simple.  Not since the town was a hub for the Western MD/Southern PA hardcore scene 5 or so years ago has a group shown up with this level of intensity and honesty.  The songs are loud, brash, powerful and rather quite incredible.  There’s no pedantic social commentary or beating around issues, Captive Son gun right for personal reflection with The Dream State .  The band’s ferociousness, harnessed by producer Eric Taft (Buzzlounge Studios) turns into an amazing sort of dark catchiness.  The music screams and wrings out its wishes, but the production and mixing makes sure everything stays grounded and decidedly accessible.

The Captive Son “sound” draws from an amazing and storied collection of influences.  There is just enough Balance and Composure to add emotional appeal and punch, but not too much that it becomes boring and repetitive like much of B&C’s discography.  There is a touch of Edison Glass and Circa Survive in the guitar writing to keep the sound on edge and add hooks and catch to the mix.

Solidifying the whole sound is lead vocalist Aaron Mong, who sounds, at times, like a younger Johnny Craig.  Mong screams and soars through some truly exquisitely written lyrics with excellent delivery and perfectly appropriate emotional commitment in every line.  Yes the music behind the vocals is fantastic, but the dynamic and driving gem that is Aaron Mong simply cannot be ignored.

Is there a bit of over-dependence on the catchy guitar leads (“In A Burning House”)?  Maybe.  Does the band sometimes lean too much on its own energy a handful of times?  Possibly.  But this is exactly the sort of music Captive Son wanted to make, it is a resolution of what the band’s members are capable of.  It is, as first major releases often are, little more than an uncorked vessel, and sometimes that is all that matters.  The Dream State will be available for download via the group’s Bandcamp next week, pick it up.


Max Robison


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