Friday, March 07, 2008

Best of 2007 - #15

15. caïna - 'mourner'
[review published on issue #80 of LOUD! magazine, translated and slightly adapted for too.many.records.]
Shortly after Alcest blew me away, the perfect companion for 'Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde' came out, and companion can even be interpreted in several ways. Alcest's album is a soft, pastoral affair, essentially feminine in its aesthetics and sensitivity, while 'Mourner' is a sort of masculine counterweight to the environments lived in Neige's work. Equally born from a solitary musician's work, young Andrew Curtis-Brignell, who doesn't feel at all the need to hide behind a demoniac alter-name (despite being a LaVey follower), 'Mourner' is the dark and disturbed face of the ambient genre. Something so scarily enveloping as 'Hideous Gnosis' is an eloquent demonstration of what you can expect of a record of this magnitude - a spartan beginning, threateningly minimalist, in which Curtis-Brignell softly sings Who’s on the side of the angels and who’s on the side of Satan?, the song transforms further and further, until we're thrown to the flames on the latter stages of the metamorphosis, as if it's suddenly a Xasthur song. The tortured voice is worthy of Varg Vikernes in 'Dunkelheit', as it proclaims No one is there anymore over guitarwork so abrasive that it sounds like a swarm of wasps. Throughout the nine songs, musical landscapes as esoteric as they are uncomfortable remind us of Swans (mainly), My Bloody Valentine, Burzum, Jesu, Lustmord and even Alcest, and from them the essential is retained. The red thread used to piece everything together is unmistakably Caïna. In an era where 500 teenage bands a day show up on MySpace, and half of them manage a recording contract after a week, it's amazing how one musician all by himself, and of this age, can have such maturity and self-confidence to create a visionary work, with its own separate identity. Hats off, dear Andrew.

Incidentally, Caïna will have available in the spring a limited split release with Portuguese doom kings Process Of Guilt, through Major Label Industries, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that one too.

Caïna - 'Hideous Gnosis'

1 comment:

  1. Não sabia desse split com Process of Guilt, boas notícias.