Setter of Unseen Snares was my first introduction to Caïna, which is primarily a one-man black metal project from Andy Curtis-Brignell. Caïna has a pretty extensive back catalog, a lot of it available on their own Bandcamp as well as from Profound Lore, and there's some truly challenging, avant-garde work to be found there. Setter of Unseen Snares, on the other hand, is more immediately accessible while still being pretty mind blowing.
After a brief intro that includes a sample from HBO's True Detective (I suspect we'll be hearing a lot of metal bands using Rust Cohle's misanthropic soliloquies), the album charges right into "I Am the Flail of the Lord." I am physically incapable of listening to this song without scream-singing along. The title and main lyric is a paraphrase of a statement attributed to Genghis Khan, and Caïna's stripped-down, industrial-tinged black metal will make you, too, want to start conquering most of Asia. The next three tracks are similarly addictive and straight to the point. On first listen, I was disappointed that the last track, "Orphan," came so quickly, because I wanted much more.
|Photo by Jo T.|
Luckily, more is what you get. Unlike the previous 4-minute-ish tracks, "Orphans" is a 15-minute opus. After a slow-building intro, the punchy growl that's dominated most of the vocals on the album so far are replaced with emotive clean singing reminiscent of Warning. There are no two ways about it--the vocals aim straight for the heart, as much of this track does. The instrumental track becomes more melodic in a way that feels mournful and cathartic all at the same time. Curtis-Brignell's growls return and are joined by glacial doom straight out of Jesu's playbook, ultimately morphing into wall-of-sound tremolo riffs that might very well make you feel like you're levitating. The soaring ending is pure, emotional beauty. I've done a lot of name-checking in my description here, but make no mistake, this is a unique blend that is truly Caïna's own making.
This album haunts me in the best of ways. If there were a CD version available, I’d probably feel compelled to buy it both on Bandcamp and in physical form, in spite of an already out-of-control CD collection.