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Tales of winter - 75%

kluseba, June 12th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Prophecy Productions (Digipak)

If you've ever been to Sudbury, you know why Finnr's Cane sound so elegiac, gloomy and lethargic because the whole city is like this. It's basically an unpleasant mining town without any noteworthy attractions and stands out as one of the least beautiful places to visit in an otherwise gorgeous province and country. It doesn't come as a surprise that the natural landscapes around the town seem to be the band's main inspirations.

Finnr's Cane's music barely qualifies as metal because of a few monotonous riffs with minor black and doom metal inspiration. Wanderlust is essentially numbing ambient music with a few harmonious neofolk spots here and there. The drum play is mostly appeasing and smooth, the guitar play slow and fragile and cello and keyboard sounds are used scarcely as they invite to dream yourself far away. Only few songs feature vocals that are drowned in the production and sound like vague blurs or fading choirs complementing the domineering instrumental work. The album develops a hypnotizing mood that works coherently from start to finish. The slow but playful and somewhat diversified ''The Lost Traveller'' is probably the most interesting song on an album where the sum is greater than its parts.

As references, I might cite Agalloch, Dornenreich and Empyrium and it doesn't come as a surprise that the mysterious Canadian trio signed with Prophecy Productions which have quite a few interesting ambient and neofolk bands in their roster. If you are looking for gloomy music inspired by natural landscapes, this authentic soundtrack of winter will evoke numerous images on your mind. Finnr's Cane might not be spectacular instrumentally but the band's cohesive atmosphere makes the trio stand out very positively.

I want to go on a journey... - 78%

nilgoun, May 12th, 2011

Wanderlust is their first and only release, but it has been released twice. Twice? Indeed, because it was originally released through Frostscald Records in 2010, but it was re-released through Prophecy Productions after Finnr’s Cane signed their deal. This seems to assure some quality, as Prophecy Productions usually provide high quality bands.

The canadian trio that forms Finnr’s Cane does have a strange style of composing their songs, as we mentioned before, but that is not the only “odd” fact. They use a cello which completely replaced the bass and in addition to that they are using strange nicknames (The bard, the peasant, the slave). The eight songs are quite long and so the record has 55 minutes total playing time.

As mentioned before, the process of which the songs arose seems to be unconventional and only a few artists have the guts to compose in such a way. That this process is indeed unconventional can be heard as well which is pretty interessting but has some negative points as well. Finnr’s Cane are presenting long drawn instrumental passages, mostly done in mid-tempo, which are defined through spheric sounds. As “instrumental passages” state, they mostly divest themselves of vocals and when vocals are used, they are very subtle.

This subtleness is a bit difficult. On the one hand it suits the spheric character of their compositons and leaves enough room for the instruments, on the other hand they are hardly audible from time to time and it could have had a strong impact if it would be more present. The created atmosphere is really cold and little sort of loneliness set to music. You may see yourself wandering through an winter landscape in your inner eye while listening to their record.

The songs are dabbling for minutes, just to proceed into nothingness, which could resemble those spiritual wanderings through bleak landscapes. Sadly, that is not the only way you could see this passages, as you might think they are quite verbose and therefore boring. Outbursts of this scheme are rare and the only song in which it is clearly evident is The Hope For Spring which is the most black metalish song on the record. The production is, as you expect from an Prophecy product, really good, although this might have also been the fact for the original release.

Conclusion:

Wanderlust is special. Spheric, nearly provoking verbose and monotonous sounds are gushing out of your boxes. As described you can nearly feel the bleakout landscapes while listening to the music, as you are sinking deep into the atmosphere. Of course those monotonous sounds, subtle vocals and long drawn atmospheric passages are not suitable for everybody and you should think twice, if you can handle it. If you love (post-)black metal with really thick atmosphere, you should listen to it anyway.
__________________________________________
nilgoun / http://threnodies.com

Had me for a few miles at least - 70%

autothrall, June 24th, 2010

The black & white photography selected for the booklet of this Canadian trio's debut portrays a certain sense of longing for desolate, natural environments that have only marginally been marred by the presence of Mankind, and when listening through their interesting mesh of black and doom metal with environmental folk and post-rock elements, you can certainly make the connection with what the band are both thinking and feeling as they travail through the album's slow, weighted moments of melancholy and hinted darkness. This is a dreamstate given the flesh of audio, an emptiness given the body of guitars and percussion, synthesizer and the occasional cello.

It is ever the task of a band like Finnr's Cane to draw the listener in through carefully metered cycles of repetition, and at this the band succeeds. "The Healer" inaugurates the procession in tranquil morning mystery, a vibration of awakening conducted through clean guitars, a steady and subtle drum beat, and small spikes of synthesizer. It's not so much an intro as an individual song, though, because it does not necessarily flow well into the second track "Snowfall", which is a desperate, graceful shoegaze metal piece with some vocals that hover at the edge of perdition, as the chords glisten with longing sadness and very little variation is uttered through the pacing.

This is the region in which most of the record thrives, so it's the band's skill at such psychological scarring that will make or break their hypnotic grasp upon the listener. I can say with confidence that the band ultimately please the palette since they differ the momentum just enough with each new track to never quite dull you. "A Winter for Shut-Ins" is enameled in a similar fabric of despair to "Snowfall", but the added pianos create a heightened enigma. "The Lost Traveller" explores an acoustic intro fully before segueing into a slower ramble of epic Northern atmospheres, while the instrumental "Glassice" remains ponderous throughout with its gently ringing, clean guitars and subtle vibrating organ that casts a cerebral shadow.

With "The Hope for Spring", Finnr's Cane transition from their stock, crawling desolation to a surge of driving, traditional black metal. , before spirals of clean folk guitars embrace some of the louder clean vocals on the album. Truth be told, throughout all of Wanderlust, I did feel like the clean vocals could have been a little louder in the mix. I realize their intention was probably to evoke this distant hovering to the listener, but they do occasionally feel mopey. "Eternal" and the closing "House of Memory" both entail a similar path as certain earlier songs on the record, but they're adequately lonesome and harrowing.

I found that I needed a certain frame of reference, a particular state of being to let this album take me to its long abandoned pathways and oceans of regret, but once arrived, I did feel it was successful enough to suck the emotions from me like all the most depressing, ambient metal does. This is not a 'riff' centered band, and I could not point out a single guitar line on the album that serves as anything more than a vehicle for the sum of a track's despair, but really, you don't listen to an act like Finnr's Cane for such metallic virtues. Comparatively, I'd put this in sync with Agalloch's Pale Folklore, although there is less of a black metal current running through its cold waters. If you appreciate anything by that band, though, or the more wistful, sparse, drifting moment's of Opeth's lighter fare, then Finnr's Cane might support you for a spell.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

The Frostscald Chronicles: Part III. - 75%

Perplexed_Sjel, June 11th, 2010

The Frostscald Chronicles: Part III.

Finnr’s Cane have become one of the hardest bands for me to pin down in some time. Though I imagine a number of people will recognise their sound as being primarily black metal, since it’s just easier to leave it at that, their sound is definitely far wider ranging than just that. Even the description of doom/atmospheric black metal/ambient doesn’t really do the band justice. There is definitely some influence from other genres like neo-folk, rock and shoegaze. Considering the band themselves say they take inspiration from acts like Agalloch, Drudkh, Ulver, Wolves in the Throne Room and even The Mahavishnu Orchestra, I’m not entirely surprised this debut full-length, entitled ‘Wanderlust’, has become such a challenge to break down and analyse. Songs like ‘A Winter For Shut-Ins’ begin to turn the screw on the album and really drive the wide ranging influences home. This song begins with typical samples of howling winds, then in comes some sharp sounding riffing alongside penetrative drums. The more the song begins to develop, the more it begins to resemble bands like Velvet Cacoon with their wintry sound.

However, Finnr’s Cane don’t like to dabble too much in one particular influence, so they change the course of their sound constantly, but consistently. The transition from one influence to another is dealt with superbly, but the sheer volume of influences can give the album a very compact feel which definitely makes it harder to become an accessible asset to the metal industry. Songs like the aforementioned ‘A Winter For Shut-Ins’ is a terrific example of this. The song, which is primarily instrumental, swings from sounding like Velvet Cacoon, to Wolves in the Throne Room and onwards and outwards to bands in genres other than black metal. The dissonant feel remains so for the duration of the song and continues on throughout the majority of the album. In terms of the imagery this album conjures, it does have a very typical, clichéd feel to it. The blizzard like effect of the guitar distortion mixed in with the largely repetitive drumming approach and how the vocals seep into the background like they do on Velvet Cacoon’s albums is typical of the more melancholic, wintry type of black metal.

There is enough variation throughout each of the songs however to suggest that Finnr’s Cane aren’t your average by-the-numbers affair. The Agalloch-esque ending to the aforementioned song and how it continues on to the next song, ‘The Lost Traveller’, is a good example of how Finnr’s Cane like to keep things interesting. This song uses cleaner guitars, which each pick of the strings being audible to the listener, giving it an authentic, natural feel just as Agalloch do. This side to the Canadian trio’s sound is much slower, more focused on varying emotions than the repetitive, Velvet Cacoon-esque musings. The album has a good amount of experimentation on it, though the textures of the atmosphere tend to sound the same throughout, though this adds a feeling of consistency, rather than evoking a sense of blandness in the soundscapes of the songs. The vocal contributions, which remind me of how Ossein implement their Ulver-esque vocals into the mix, would be a stand-out element of the album if only they were more audible, not shunted into the background and buried under the instrumentation.

My only major gripe with this album is the vocals. The harsher vocals, which consists of the occasional growl and whatnot, are fine, but the cleaner, chanted vocals like that of Garm, aren’t audible enough to warrant an inclusion when they do pop-up. ‘The Hope For Spring’ does alter the course of the vocals, projecting themselves in a suitably black metal fashion, but this doesn’t last long as the clean vocals are brought back in. The vocals are a sparse element of this mostly instrumental album though. I would have preferred a more dazzling contribution from the vocals if they’re going to be clean. They need that sense of oomph that leads from the front, rather than just dithering in the background like they do whenever they seem to become a apart of the structures. The cleaner aspects of the instrumentation, which appear on songs like ‘Glassice’, don’t make the most of the cleaner vocals when they really should. When the instrumentation slows down and stops using the distortion for the purpose of impacting and enhancing the backbone of the atmospherics, the cleanly chanted vocals should rise up and resonate in the listener like a phoenix from the ashes.

Instead, the instrumentation is content enough to allow the clean vocals of The Bard to meld into the distortion where they bear little relevance or importance. The cleaner instrumentation is, however, an aspect of Finnr’s Cane that works with or without vocals. The synths and occasional input of the beautiful cello, both provided by The Slave, accompany the sombre guitar passages and light drumming on songs like ‘Glassice’ incredibly well. This gives the album a true sense of dynamism and the listener an indication that the band are in no way one-dimensional. Unlike many of the bands who opt for a wintry, wall-of-sound approach, Finnr’s Cane don’t feel the need to burden their sound with a one track approach. There are numerous dimensions to this album, provided subtly by the synths and the beautiful, enigmatic cello, as well as the cleaner guitars. The clean vocals, had they been supplied over the top of the instrumentation rather than under it, would have felt quintessential to the projection, but as they are, they need reworking into the atmosphere and to play a bigger role. This could be said for the sparse cello, too, but when the cello does show up, it does so to good affect. In terms of highlights, I’d have to say ‘The Hope For Spring’ really stands out.