(Broken Limbs Recordings, 2015)
Andrew Curtis-Brignell has been working on Caïna since 2004, handling mostly all the instruments on the bands releases, with an exception of a few other people responsible for drums, bass and vocals during the years (the band has featured people like Chris Ross of Revenge and N.Imperial of Krieg as vocalists). The man has explored a few different styles with this band, now returning to his (and the band’s) roots in Black Metal and Hardcore Punk -oriented soundscapes with this his sixth full-length. This time around, Andrew handles all instruments, while the vocals are done by three session-vocalists.
The album begins with an Ambient intro (featuring a sample of a speech by Matthew McConaughey from “True Detective”), before switching to a Hardcore Punk -driven “I Am The Flail Of The Lord”, consisting of pounding (yet quite gentle-sounding) drums, reverberating and distorted (yet quite soft) sounds of guitars and extremely low basses, with strong audial aesthetics reminding of Shoegaze and Post-Metal (or, in this case, Post-Black Metal). The melodies are surprisingly beautiful in a melancholic way, which is in this case a very positive thing. The soundscapes draw influence from Ambient Noise when it comes to mixing and production, creating quite a unique and cool outcome. The serious and suffering vocals are performed well, fitting the rest of the professionally-crafted music splendidly. The third and fourth songs “Setter Of Unseen Snares” and “Vowbound” continue otherwise along the same lines but lean totally towards dissonant “modern” Black Metal, the first one featuring awesome Hardcorish and Blackened shouting vocals, while the second one is more traditionally Black when it comes to the screaming, featuring also a few parts reminding a bit of Industrial Metal besides the obvious Post-Metal influences. The fifth song “Applicant/Supplicant” goes again to more (Post-)Punk-oriented paths incorporating very eighties-sounding parts to Black Metal riffs, blast-beats, and choir-like vocals. The sixth and final song “Orphan” (stretching to 15 minutes in length) begins as an awesome Ambient Noise spectacle, soon turning into a Doomy (in that old My Dying Bride kind of way) and melancholic piece with clear vocals fitting the style of the song, before switching to Black Metal again, and more slow melodic Metal towards the end. A fine ending for the album.
This kind of music might appeal more to the “modern” Blackened Metal fan into bands like Deafhaven or Altar Of Plagues (although Caïna doesn’t quite sound like either) rather than some simple-minded Black Metal puritanist. This album is highly recommended to all open-minded people who find the styles mentioned above appealing.