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The triumph of diversity - 92%

ultraviolet, June 11th, 2012

There are cases of artists that set the trends and cases of those that follow them (successfully or not). But there are also some people who don’t give a shit about all this and simply pave their own, distant path. Like i.e. the latter Varg Vikernes. Such artist is Andrew-Curtis Brignell, who, under the Caϊna name, introduced himself to us by playing primitive raw blackmetal only to stray soon into more trippy post metal/rock soundscapes.

And while that post trend has rushed like a whirlwind into blackmetal (and other subgenres), only to cover, in most cases, the lack of composing talent, with Caϊna this mixture works in a truly unique way. So it comes to this year’s “Hands That Pluck”, where Brignell, helped by his brother Jon in bass guitar, asks some friends to assist him in lyrics and vocals. One of them is Imperial from (slightly unrecognized) Krieg, who contributes in the ten-minute “Murrain” track, where he spits his misanthropic manifest over a layer of dense blackmetal riffs interrupted by atmospheric synth melodies. Yet, the change in rhythm and mood seems so natural that it doesn’t produce any annoyance.

As the record flows, almost everything looks abnormal at first hearing. I.e., the title track is not the album’s “opus” (as is usual) but a small instrumental interlude. It is followed by the ethereal “The Sea Of Grief Has No Shores” for which I speculate that Red Sparrowes would kill to have on their last record. Not only that, but in the next track Brignell is accompanied by the vocalist of Starkweather (a pioneer metalcore band from the early 90s –nothing to do with nowadays shit) in a collaboration that ends up to a paranoid avant-garde/prog/blackmetal orgy bringing to mind vocals equivalent to Czral or even Buddy Lackey. Without a joke, the guy (Brignell) can produce the most emotional harmony on one moment and the next he can howl at moon or maybe pass the microphone to Chris Ross (of Axis Of Advance/Blood Revolt/Revenge fame) without disturbing the homogeneity of the material at the slightest point.

I have no idea how he manages to do that, but during the epic conclusion of “Ninety Three” I could do nothing but stand in awe from the grandeur of this work. In ideal listening conditions (seclusion, dim lighting, red wine), “Hands That Pluck” is destined to be one of the main soundtracks of the forthcoming autumn and this is something you have to ascertain yourselves. Icing on the cake, the bonus CD (“Old Songs, New Chords”) with reinterpretations of older Caϊna material (which is also included) as well as a fine cover of Nico’s “Roses In The Snow”).

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