Caïna - Caïna
Bubonic Productions
Post-Rock, Progressive Black Metal
4 songs (27:29)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

As remarkable as it was, a towering monolith of strange Post-Black beauty that rivals Alcest for sheer uncanny delight in musical form, Caïna’s remarkably good 2008 album Temporary Antennae sadly didn’t shoot the one-man-band up into the stratosphere where it belongs. This follow-up EP piqued my interest as it was a self-titled release, usually a sign that a band wishes to define their characteristic sound, and after three albums and multiple smaller releases, Andrew Curtis-Brignell’s decision to do this now is fascinating. Caïna as a band has been in existence for six years, six years in which only 2004 and so far 2010 have failed to see some sort of release, and yet there’s no sign of the creative burn-out which artists bound to bigger labels and a wider fanbase would inevitably find themselves languishing. Indeed, in some ways Caïna the EP is bigger, better, and more forward-looking than Temporary Antennae, although I do prefer the album, for reasons I’ll explain later.

Listening to Temporary Antennae again (and if you’re unfamiliar with it, I do urge you to seek it out) and comparing and contrasting, Caïna is notably a little more raw than its pristine predecessor’s general ambience and beauty. There are always moments of rotten gnarliness underneath the shiny exterior, however, and this is no exception – although intro piece here, The Approaching Chastisement, is three-and-a-half-minutes of laid-back Post-Rock loveliness, the following Drilling The Spire starts with ugly squalling feedback and continues with loud, sludgy guitar drones and snarled vocals. It’s still very grandiose, but closer to the rantings of a lunatic as the world collapses around him than the usual Post-Rock niceties. About a third of the way through, a deep and booming Black Metal starts to roar out, broken up by percussive trills, putting the strange psychedelia of the guitars at the forefront of the sound. I don’t want to go overboard with the track step-by-step breakdown, but the way that it collapses into ambience halfway through and slowly re-emerges as a melodic, melancholic ascent is absolute genius.

The following To Pluck The Night Up By Its Skin is just as good, strangely catchy croaks over a delicate, atmospheric base before taking a turn for the disturbing with Jim Jones samples and oddly upbeat backing. Closing instrumental You Worship The Wrong Carpenter is also good, constant tempo shifts and interesting drumming keeping your attention. As a whole, the EP is excellent – I did say that I preferred the previous album, of course, and this is because Caïna lacks quirk, that subtle little ingredient that made previous tracks such as Larval Door such a delight. The music here is more straightforward, more of a statement, a reminder to all to keep their eyes and ears peeled for this underappreciated little project.

Killing Songs :
The Approaching Chastisement, Drilling The Spire, To Pluck The Night Up By Its Skin, You Worship The Wrong Carpenter
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Caïna that we have reviewed:
Caïna - Setter of Unseen Snares reviewed by Jared and quoted 80 / 100
Caïna - Temporary Antennae reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
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