Caïna - Temporary Antennae
Profound Lore Records
Post-Rock, Progressive Black Metal
10 songs (51:04)
Release year: 2008
Caïna, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat

At the time of writing at least, the Extreme Metal genre with the most originality seems to be Black Metal, and whilst the Avant-Garde crowd are pushing in one direction, back here in merrie olde Englande a new generation are arising, truly original in every way. One-man band Caïna is an excellent example, starting out as a typically raw bedroom project before evolving into something rather special, and with third full-length Temporary Antennae, completely unique in the field. The genre description given above doesn’t begin to cover the range of styles covered on this album, which starts out as a typically depressive ambient Black Metal/Funeral Doom before twisting and turning in a variety of ways. Going through them all would take far too long, but rest assured, this is a voyage that few bands are capable of accomplishing.

If you’re skim-reading this, then here’s the lowdown: the style here is a mix between Xasthur, Isis and Ulver, the ambient blur of the first meeting the melancholic melody of the second, with moments of progressive oddness that could only come from the last. Opening track Manuscript Found In Unmarked Grave, 1919 starts with tinkling percussion and ambient noise before a spooky muffled voiceover leads the way to first song proper Ten Went Up River, exploding like a rotten limb, distorted guitar riffs opening into an epic Post-Rock symphony.

Those that have heard previous releases from the band (yeah, both of you) will see immediately that the Post-Rock influence on this album is much higher, and whilst the vibe started here soon dissolves into proggy acoustics and echoing noise before restarting, the epic punch is there all the way through. That the song ends in a child’s voice singing a folk song is all the creepier – this is truly a dark-room-and-headphones album. Walking to my place of work next to a main road, I found it impossible to concentrate on, but in the relative quiet of home, the subtleties are drawn out and songs like Willows And Whipporwills go from being obtuse and dull to gripping and beautiful. There’s a definite Neurosis influence there, especially in the gruff, pained vocals, and all eight minutes pass by in a moment.

Highlights are frequent: the frequent genre shifts in Tobacco Beetle, riffs and vocals seemingly slapped randomly over an ambient palette before hellish disco beats begin pumping, the backing music ending a few seconds before the beat leaving it to fade away on its own like some freakish undead heart, still pumping although the body is dead. Larval Door, starting like a radio hit from the 80s before shifting into something that Red Sparowes would be proud of. Them Golds And Brass, singer-songwriter vocals and acoustic melodies swirling. Yet at no point does Caïna dip into Avant-Garde territory, which would really be an easy way out. Each track, each moment of melody, works, and when you sit and listen to the entire album the overall effect is pretty darn impressive. If only all music was like this.

Killing Songs :
Ten Went Up River, Tobacco Beetle, Larval Door, Them Golds And Brass, Temporary Antennae
Goat quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Caïna that we have reviewed:
Caïna - Setter of Unseen Snares reviewed by Jared and quoted 80 / 100
Caïna - Caïna reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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