Saturday, July 14, 2007

Caina - Mourner (2007)

Ah, Caina. Another band on the forefront of the post-rock/black metal scene, fueled by one British man's desire to meld the beauty of both genres. The first Caina album was an interesting affair - portions of soft, dream-effected guitars giving way to raging, buzzing black metal - yet it suffered from messiness and incoherent ideas. However, the promise was there - Curtis-Brignell's tremulous, vulnerable clean singing being a majour highlight for me. The only release since then has been I, Mountain, the limited pressing in God is Myth record's tribute to H.P. Lovecraft. While some enjoyed the peaceful instrumental journey presented, and others thrashed it to pieces for its lacking musical content, no hint as to Caina's progression was to be found. Thus, Mourner serves as the band's first real test - will it step up to the heights of other rock/bm peers, such as Amesouers and Lifelover, or will it wallow in confusion?

The first song, sadly, doesn't fit or work very well. "Constantine the Blind" consists mostly of talking, acoustic guitar, and some ethnic instruments. While you can tell where he was trying to go with it, and it does pull together in the latter half, the song is awkward. It actually sounds exactly like Legolas (LotR) trying to do a Mournful Congregation cover. Thankfully, no more talking of this sort is to be found on the album. The next track is "Hideous Gnosis," a song that has been online for some while, and the reason why I've been so excited for this album. The clean vocals are in the majority of this song, and I love it. The rest of the album follows suit, with spacious post-rock instrumental pieces and lilting, sighing vocals taking the forefront. The transitions to black metal are a little rough, but once they get going they deliver a sawmill of guitars and oft-times disturbed dsbm vocal arrangements. However, there are two more tracks that I have issues with. "Wave Engulf a Pier" is a mostly throw-away proto-industrial drone piece that serves as pointless filler. The other problem, which is smaller and mostly personal, is that "Wormwood Over Albion" has about five minutes of silence in the middle of it. That just irritates the fuck out of me, but it's better than having crappy songs, I guess.

All in all, Mourner delivers a refined, intriguing update to the Caina style. It's still messy in parts, especially the change-over from rock to bm, and I can't tell if this is due to lack of skill or is a deliberate attempt to keep things necrobasementesque. Either way, while I do enjoy his music, and there are certainly some nigh-perfect songs (Hideous Gnosis, Permaneo Carmen, The Sleep of Reason) I think Curtis-Brignell still needs a bit of time to let his bastard kriegrock child grow into what it's meant to be.


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