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Capleton I-Ternal Fire Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

He’s adapted to the modern landscape of reggae, proving he is an all-time great.

Angus Taylor 2010

The fiery Neo-Rasta Capleton has long been one of reggae and dancehall’s most dependable deejays – his extraordinary, incendiary delivery and powder keg lyrics putting his scorching brand on the big rhythms of the day. For six years all has been quiet on the album front, but this mellower yet still potent offering marks him as a master of his craft.

2004’s Reign of Fire saw him move from inflammatory hard dancehall towards gruff, judgemental roots music. I-Ternal Fire goes further, even shifting into soulful ballad territory with the haunting, deeply moving Mama You Strong – a filial tribute to match Sizzla’s Thank You Mama from 2003.

Even so, this is classic Capleton. When I Come to Town attacks crooked politicians and invokes his huge 1998 hit Jah Jah City, while Global War calls out world powers for their part in the Middle East crisis. His anti-Babylonian rhetoric also covers environmental misdeeds: It’s On and Them Get Corel both give climate change an eschatological twist.

Never one to shy away from social issues, Capleton uses the frenzied Call I to savage rapists, paedophiles and the authorities that release them. There is, however, no mention of the anti-gay controversy that still haunts his career today, save the – possibly unrelated – remark of “Mistry Babylon, I don’t need your approval,” during All Is Well.

The rhythms – from a variety of producers including veterans Clive Hunt and Bobby Digital, current one-drop supremos Kemar McGregor and Shane Brown, along with the Parisian Frenchie – are of softer, more melodic mettle than before. Nevertheless, Capleton has adapted to the landscape of reggae in the new decade perfectly, proving he is an all-time great.

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