Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

From Cast Iron To Stainless Steel - 85%

CHAIRTHROWER, December 2nd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Independent

Following a major line-up overhaul as well as barely exalted live album concurrent to 2018's Crisis of Faith, Colchester's Kaine has indubitably found its voice i.e. signature sound with Reforge The Steel, a respective fourth full-length amid a swath of singles put out since 2009. Featuring, as always, front/ax man/(lone) founding member Rage Sadler alongside fellow six-string'er Toby Woods and a definitive, naturally formative battery in bassist Isaac Healy and drummer Liam Etheridge, the British, if not heavily fantastical and Medievally conjured, power metal outfit wastes no time setting the album's straight up and direct, no frills disposition/tone with a titular, mid-tempo, crash cymbal laden opener which verily sounds cut from the same upbeat albeit rustic cloth as said middle-of-the-"path" predecessor.

Again, the crystal clear, well-rounded production favours each component in a similarly exposed, rank and file manner, from Healy's buoyant and plump, semi-adventurous bass lines atop his colleague's pronouncedly odd and mercurial, yet no less throttling or propulsive, drum fills/beats, to Sadler/Woods' borderline fey, oft major keyed (i.e. carnivalesque and/or teetering) riff formulas which, while colourfully juxtaposed over the even-keeled low end ministrations, still command several spins in order to grasp their full, esoteric duality. Nevertheless, unlike Crisis of Faith, Reforge the Steel feels a lot tighter overall, devoid of frivolities such as instrumentals, intros, outros and knavish spoken-word extirpation (regaled Old World tales - as in, stuffily pompous narration - by the hearth and fire, during a snowy, stormy night, ferinstance). Although "Black" also borrows from last year's weighty n' whimsical sonic palette - with, of course, a rarified, liquified lead at the outset, "Loudwire" duly drives home the point I'm striving to convey regarding the band's newfound ardor, power and verve.

Etheridge's double bass drum patter, woven in by the stark, lambasting, tremolo picked riff-ery and eventual high melody as well as memorably catchy chorus (Kaine's hallmark, so to speak), instantly lends this track a no-nonsense, game changing air - not least of which is a fluttering hummer-driven mid-way yielding a seizing return to avuncular, feel-good, sing-along form. The blast beats and cumulative high-hat capped drum tumbles and shrieking, show-off-y yet wholly radical/awesome guitar solo serving as denouement make it a landmark discography highlight; that said, it's the gang's crowning glory (like the band, mind) not only for this release, but its far-flung, tepidly received decade at large.

Further embellishments akin to wistful piano keys pepper "The Dragon Reborn (Rebirth)" while providing a neat counterpoint to its gruffly harried, syncopated and furrowed groove-like riff-age. Additionally, we're hard pressed to discern such a dramatic line-up change, assuming thusly the boys have finally come into their own. Rather, as is the case, Mr. Sadler simply hit on the right stuff, or "alchemy", relative to band chemistry and momentum thanks to his recently engaged brethren. Track lengths vary, from the shorter "Reforge The Steel" proper at four and three-quarters minutes to "Black", the longest at seven; closing with forty-eight total run time, the songs still average six minutes. Now, count a solid eight, compared to Crisis' lofty ten (eleven, actually, including a sneaky bonus track). Plus, the leads, though sparse, mesmerize in their punctuality and vitality, such as on "Master of Mankind", for example.

In general, Reforge The Steel is Kaine's most compact, forceful and downright pleasing, not to mention whittled down and fluid, offering to date. Suffice it to say, Rage has finally sorted out the kinks which previously held the formation in check. If anything, like Leeds' Dream Troll up the road - whose second full-length, sadly, fails to adumbrate its oh-so-cheeky and marvellous debut & subsequent three-track EP - Kaine has a unique aura and sound, somewhat reminiscent (in a playful and original manner) of Scotland's Midnight Force, New York's Tanith or perhaps that stellar international affair, Mirror. Hither and tither, Kaine entails essential listening for any erudite or well-versed - not played! - trad/power rivet head.