I’m not afraid to admit that Setter of Unseen Snares serves as my introduction to UK black metal entity Caïna (as far as I can recall). And it’s quite the experience. Founding member Andrew Curtis-Brignell wasted no time impressing on these six tracks.
Starting the album with a sound clip taken from True Detective was a good choice and set the thematic tone: the end of the human race. It’s amazing how knowing the concept behind an album changes the way you experience it. The concept here is the plight and impending doom of Earth’s last family as an asteroid screams toward the planet.
Throughout Setter that apocalyptic feeling dominates whether during the sombre moments or those of chaotic devastation. It’s vicious black metal interspersed with respites from the fear-inducing terror. At times it’s even tranquil.
A gothic ambience also weaves its way through adding to the massive sound, which encapsulates the listener as definitively as Earth’s demise would. When called for the vocals are terrible, menacing, harrowing and uncompromising, while at other times full of heartbreak and sadness.
“Applicant Supplicant” features an earworm guitar line and punk undercurrents as well as choral vocals that lend a different air. An air of destiny. Epic closer “Orphan” is full of longing and pain surrounded by a peaceful ambience. Like one final sunset. But the darkness vanquishes all in a swarm of blackened rage, chaos and destruction. Yet the track ends on melodic wings, lifted the listener from the depths.
Setter of Unseen Snares will sweep you up in its apocalyptic embrace and carry you away, immersing you in the world it has created. It’s far from a casual listen. The way to gain the full spectrum of human emotion laid out is to become as invested in it as its creator. It’s a complex and emotional album that captures the enormity of the characters’ situation while painting vast and varied sonic vistas. Rage, sorrow, hope, they’re all there played out to devastating effect. Curtis-Brignell has set the snare but it’s one worth getting caught in.
Released in North America on January 20, 2015 on Broken Limbs Recordings.
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