Caïna
Setter of Unseen Snares

Out of the myriad of one man black metal bands out there, Caïna, the brainchild of Andrew Curtis-Brignell, appears to have more staying power than most. It’s easy to see why. Setter of Unseen Snares is Caïna’s fifth full length, and perhaps their most relevant and compelling release so far.

From the resigned, tragic nature of the opening introduction track, to the apocalyptic yet also uplifting closer, “Orphan”, the album tells a story of the last family on earth and their attempts to leave, covering a gamut of emotions along the way. The stuff in between this short record isn’t half bad either; “I am the Flail of the Lord” covers a huge amount of ground in little more than four minutes, from the latter day Altar of Plagues to more traditional but none the less enthralling and pummelling riffage. Throbbing, foreboding keyboards underpin these six tracks; the cosmic swirling behind the closing riffs of “Vowbound” is particularly inventive and inspiring; perhaps Curtis-Brignell has been influenced by Chicago titans of mindbending music Locrian.

Yet the best is left until last; the aforementioned “Orphan”. At first, the music is a huge departure from the avant-blackened rage of the first side; graceful yet cavernous melodies courtesy of a guest singer that weirdly have me thinking of Ozzy Osbourne.  Yet in the course of the song all the good ingredients of traditional black metal are thrown in, and it’s a thrilling yet morose plus-fifteen minute ride. The lyrical content is even more poignant when Curtis-Brignell’s battle for depression is taken into consideration.

The real tragedy here is that this could well be Caïna’s final album; with mainman Curtis-Brignell alluding in interviews that perhaps he wants a change of direction in his life. If it turns out to be so, then what a way to bow out; I’m sure that come the end of 2015 I’ll be looking back at this album as one of the best black metal releases of this year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
February 18th, 2015

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