Archive for the ‘caina’ Category

Caïna — Setter of Unseen Snares

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Caïna is a magnificent black vein of creativity opened up to the world by Andy Curtis Brignell from his base in Manchester. With the high quality full-length and shorter releases previously released, it has been a mystery as to why Caïna has remained unreasonably underrated (although certainly not, for example, by Behind the Mirror’s Zanthus, who has long championed this excellent purveyor of dark and imaginative heavy music). The obvious mastery of sonic malevolent elements should hold enormous appeal to traditional black metal fans, and the more inventive nature that sets Caïna apart from the BM pack should draw in those who favour the genre’s more experimental approach. It’s time to listen up, lest the mystery deepen further. If you haven’t been ensnared already, prepare to be held fast by a new album as Caïna awaken majestically from self-imposed stasis.

Setter of Unseen Snares is simultaneously ambitious and expansive both conceptually and stylistically (a trademark of Caïna’s catalogue as a whole), whilst taking on a more distilled, precise, and even primitive expression of black atmosphere. Different vocalists appear to play specific roles in the album’s climax, “Orphan”. The records tells the story of “Earth’s last family” dealing with knowledge of forthcoming extinguishing of life on the planet by an imminent collision with an asteroid. Having always owned an in-depth and varied knowledge of genre, Andy lets loose on this occasion with a stream of hardcore and punk influence throughout the songs whilst retaining the relationship to experimental black metal.

The record begins with a moody soundscape interspersed with samples of True Detective character Rust Cohle expounding some of his grimmest outlooks on humanity. Immediately the experience becomes one of exhilarating and dramatic punishment, as “I Am the Flail of the Lord” switches effortlessly between pronounced raucous punk influences and tranquil pseudo-darkwave flourishes. The album’s title track is a pure spirit of lethal maelstrom, initiating a crescendo of emotional intensity that is merciless throughout the album’s core until the arrival of the vast, progressive denouement of “Orphan”.

So many have tried this operatic concept album approach within extreme music only to find themselves bogged down in overloading the listener with unintended self-satire of the Nigel Tufnel kind. The succinct nature of Setter…, with its deft seasoning of the songs with changes in influence and brevity of motif, keeps the concept tight and powerful. There is almost the sense of the story passing too quickly, were it not for the climactic grandeur of “Orphan”. In its final minutes the album is utterly orgasmic, the perfect uplifiting marriage of black metal, punk, and post-rock.

Caïna is clearly rooted in a sincere emotional commitment to the music from Andy, a characteristic of the great works of the heavy world without exception. With some research, you can find that this explains both the hiatus and such a triumphant return to activity. If we can be permitted to fall victim to laziness and call Setter of Unseen Snares a black metal album, it is as good as one that you can find amongst recent years in the genre. It is certainly an album that should place the band at the forefront of discussion about those artists who are taking the music in a direction that is both healthy and, thankfully, beyond the reach of those deplorable gatekeepers who would rather keep it shackled within the safety of compulsive ritual and nostalgia.

The Black Captain hosts RTRFM’s Behind the Mirror at 11pm (+8GMT) on Feb 18th.