Caïna- Setter of Unseen Snares (COF Records)

A heart-rending tale of one family's struggle of life after the apocalypse.

When one thinks of UK black metal, the image that is conjured up usually consists of misty moors and ancient pagan landscapes. It’s a sound spearheaded by bands such as Winterfylleth, Woodensthrone and Fen. However, running parallel alongside this British resurgence in orthodox black metal over the past decade or so has been Caïna. The solo project of one Andy Curtis-Brignell, Caïna embraced a more esoteric and eclectic take on the genre that frequently impressed.  Now Caïna is back once again with Setter of Unseen Snares.

Upon first spinning the album, the first thing that is immediately striking for the listener is how absolutely jam-packed the compositions are. In a record that barely lasts longer than thirty minutes, we get a swathe of different musical moods channelled through some utterly hair-raising black metal. But that’s not all; there are plenty of post-punk melodies and gothic atmospheres that manage to convey a real sense of the morose. This sense of weight is really quite apt when you consider that Setter of Unseen Snares is also a concept record detailing the story of the last family on earth. No need for some sprawling 2 hour odyssey here; not when the emotions are this densely packed and so expertly conveyed.

The compositional strength of Curtis-Brignell is truly highlighted by the fact that half of this 30 minute record is made up of 1 fifteen minute song, Orphan. This song is the payoff both in the sense of the music and the fictional concept that goes along with it. It’s a song that slowly unfurls, starting off with haunting clean vocals that build into an absolutely glorious sustained crescendo of crashing drums, pained shrieks and melodious guitars. For a fifteen minute song, it goes by in a flash much like the whole album does. You’ll be reaching for the replay button to experience it all over again.

Setter of Unseen Snares is an enthralling and exhausting piece of work that truly represents what some of the best black metal is capable of. It’s highly advised that anyone with half an hour to spare get the fuck on this.

Setter of Unseen Snares is out now.