Finnr's Cane

Not to be confused with Sutter Cane (“Do you read Sutter Cane?”), Finnr’s Cane is a three-piece hailing from the frozen wastes of Canada (yeah, they have those there too), and if you’ve never heard of them yet, take note, because you’ll be uttering their name alongside other naturalistic black metal luminaries in years to come. Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room, start marking your territory now.

Wanderlust – aptly titled, as the entire album seems to suggest a solitary trek through harsh yet beautiful conditions – is an open, airy take on the folky and despondent black metal we’ve enjoyed on albums like Agalloch’s Pale Folklore, Drudkh’s Autumn Aurora, Burzum’s Filosofem or even Opeth’s Orchid. Opening tracks like “The Healer” and “Snowfall” do a wonderful job of braiding and blending minimalist, chiming guitarwork with spare and jangly percussion. They create a mood that’s both gloomy and ethereal, and so when the tracks do crest into seething, more traditional black metal tremolo, it feels like a revelation rather than the same old frosty blistering attack.

Vocals also get a unique treatment. They’re kind of a cross between a low mutter and a sonorous chant, which gives them a reverential feel. They’re also largely buried in the mix, as on tracks like “A Winter for Shut-Ins.” This amplifies their unique, atmospheric quality, as if they’re echoing from within a solitary winter cabin engulfed in tall snowdrifts.  There are very few moments where the traditional black metal rasp are used – “The Hope for Spring,” with its doomy fuzz and frantic pace – and again, the restraint and rarity makes it feel well-earned and special, rather than just something we’ve come to expect from this snowy corner of the genre.

And as spare as the music seems to be, it’s actually quite a rich tapestry. Finnr’s Cane succeeds in pulling in the right instrument at the right time, from delicate spidery ambience, Hammond keys and deep rumbling cello appear on the gorgeous, largely instrumental “Glassice,” or the surprising, spooky prog-tootling keyboard halfway through “Eternal.” They’re subtle, well-chosen additions to a sound that’s already somewhat non-traditional, even as it treads the same desolate landscape as the other acts I’ve mentioned.

Wanderlust is a deeply solemn and haunting experience, yet it’s also full of life. Perhaps it’s the open, airy sound and the delicate way that the instruments coil and intertwine with each other – it just all feels very direct and honest and transparent. Handcrafted and personal, the way that you would appreciate a solidly carved piece of furniture or a rustic meal. Finnr’s Cane may hide their names behind The Bard, The Peasant and the Slave, but behind those monikers are some damn talented and passionate musicians.

Bottom line, if you’re a fan of Drudkh, Burzum, Agalloch or early Opeth, then this is a mandatory purchase.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
July 18th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    sounds cool!

  2. Commented by: Dan

    I read Sutter Cane!

  3. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    Fantastic album! Thanks for the review.

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