If anyone named Amott puts out an album, you’re going to put your money on melodic death metal. And while Captivity is melodic, is certainly metal, and - based on sheer love of blast beats alone - must qualify as death, it doesn’t paint a true picture to simply call it that. There are an awful lot of elements at play in here that are not your typical melodic death metal fare. The array of styles and influences at play is impressive to say the least, and there are some killer tunes in there, but ultimately it leaves Captivity and Devourment a little inconsistent and sounding more like simply a collection of songs than a cohesive album. The guitar work is impeccable, of course, and on full display with solos aplenty. The love of classic, 70s and 80s metal that runs through Amott veins has ever been refreshing, but there are almost too many other (on their own, perhaps equally refreshing) elements running through ‘Captivity’ for me personally to get a proper handle on the album.
The first tune is an absolutely brutal opener; slow builds and instrumentals have become somewhat of the standard intro in extreme metal, but this one is instant blast beats, and throws you right in it; you get a few songs in before the inevitable acoustic instrumental gives you that reprieve you expected. That I really dug. The second track, Locked in, has a definite ‘death and roll’ quality at times and also a very traditional melodic death metal feel at others – death vocals throughout, it was one of the album highlights for me. Then the clean choruses sneak in on the third song and appear sporadically throughout the rest of the album. Fugitive Dust has a pretty rock feel to start with, but transitions into electronic and synth-y ambience that remind of 2000s-ish In Flames. Then comes Conquer, another aggressive highlight, with death vocals over some great melodic guitar work on the choruses, followed by the acoustic portion of the album; a nice little intro on Thanaton and then the instrumental Background Radiation. The Watcher has a definite modern American metal feel to it. The Equalizer has a total rock opening riff but very quickly moves through power-metal Blind Guardian-esqe melodies, all kinds of double kick, gang choruses, and even gets a little prog-y there in the middle. Definitely enjoyable, but man, I was kind of exhausted by the end of it!