Caïna / Cara Neir – Split

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Label: Broken Limbs Recordings

This was an unexpected surprise. I had thought that Christ Clad In White Phosphorous was to be Caïna’s final recorded output, but evidently not, as this split with blackened crust masters Cara Neir has emerged. Each band has a single track, though that’s all that both bands need to demonstrate their talent and unorthodox natures. Whilst both bands may have different sounds, it’s safe to say that their mentalities are comparable, making this split a bittersweet triumph – triumphant because of its undeniable quality, but bittersweet as this now marks the last output of Caïna to be committed to tape.

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Caïna – Christ Clad In White Phosphorus

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Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Trying to second-guess what a new Caïna record will sound like is a pretty pointless task. Within the back catalogue of the UK act, you’ll find everything from blackened hardcore to neofolk to experimental electronics and beyond. Added to that is the fact that the band is no longer a solo concern, with founding member Andrew Curtis-Brignell now being joined by Laurence Taylor (Cold Fell, COF Records) on vocals, adding a whole new element to the equation. Then consider that the band’s recent live performances had tended towards noise performances rather than anything traditionally metal, as well as the band publicly hinting that 90s industrial metal was becoming more of an influence. Taken together, it means that the only thing that could be stated with certainty about Christ Clad In White Phosphorus is that it would be a dark, challenging listen – which it most certainly is. It’s one of the more demanding releases in the Caïna catalogue, but given time and patience, it also reveals itself as one of the strongest.

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2015 Favourites – Top 5

And so, at last, to the final part of my 2015 favourites. These five records are, without exception, ones that I felt were not just my favourites, but ones that I consider to be among the best of their respective genres; whether that be because they nailed the core sounds so perfectly, or because they went beyond, pushing at the boundaries with huge success. As such, I would also argue that, as well as being my favourites, these are what I consider to be the five best releases of 2015. And given this, I feel it’s possible to rank them in a non-alphabetical order. So, here we go…

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Caïna – Setter Of Unseen Snares

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Label: COF Records / Broken Limbs Recordings / Skin And Bones Records

Perhaps it’s more a sign of the things I interest myself in than anything else, but it feels like it’s been a while since an album created the levels of anticipation and excitement that Setter Of Unseen Snares has. Hands That Pluck has been a favourite of mine since release, and Caïna‘s past releases have shown that main man Andrew Curtis-Brignell is one to pursue his own musical vision rather than release what people think he should (just compare tracks from Litanies Of Abjection, to Hands That Pluck, to Mourner). Add to that some delays in release, and an interview in which he showed himself to be that most unexpected of things in black metal (a decent human being), and my anticipation for this album could not have been higher. Now, having spent some time with it and allowing my initial thoughts to cool, I feel confident in saying that my excitement for Setter Of Unseen Snares was not misplaced. That this is some of the most emotional, unsettling, and thrilling music I’ve heard in a while, regardless of genre.

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