Das Kapital - Denying the West (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Das Kapital

Denying the West (2006)

Johann's Face

Das Kapital is a writing by Karl Marx that essentially criticizes capitalism, its various facets, how it operates, and what kind of impact it's having on the world. Fitting, then, that the title of Das Kapital's record is Denying the West, a theme that finds itself the basis for a decent portion of the record's lyrics.

Getting away from any social and political affiliations for a minute, though, the record is a relatively sound one. For the most part the band sticks to some slower-paced punk tunes, other times opting instead to sound like vintage R.E.M. Either way, their sound is a succinct one that can stand on its own feet no matter the pace, and no matter what general comparisons I can draw. There's no rousing sing-alongs, no fist-pumping anthems, but the sound of singer Marc Ruvolo's voice is one that does command a certain sort of understated attention. He doesn't scream, he doesn't much raise his voice past normal singing level, but it's got a real gravity to it that allows for all of the songs to sound fresh and inviting right off the bat. He has to do a lot of the work on his own, too, because the musicians behind him don't bring anything all that memorable to the table. There's a really solid drum fill here and there, some interesting chord progressions, but nothing is liable to stick in your head for longer than 30 seconds or so after the first listen. "Chains on the Hellespont" is the exception to this, as not only does the bouncy rhythm drive itself into your head, but the subtle guitar melodies will have you tapping your feet for quite a while after the song has ended.

Few bands are able to carry this sort of political agenda in such a fun, bouncy manner. Some songs are so infectious they'll grip you right away, others won't last more than 20 seconds in your head. The middle ground isn't hard to find, and that's where you'll most likely be residing.