If coming to Caïna’s latest offering you thought it was going to be a gentle listen, then you are sorely mistaken. Gentle Illness blends together elements of black metal, noise and jazz to make one horrific racket which is ear drum splitting and not easy to digest. That being said the album as a whole is structured in such a way that all the elements pulled together by its creator Andrew Curtis-Brignell pay off and make sense.
After being introduced to the record with the harsh noise of ‘Wellness Policy’ the album begins to show it’s true colours in ‘Your Life Was Probably Pointless’ where the vicious vocal delivery is met with an at times strangely soothing rhythm to pull the track along. It is clear there is a darkness to what Caïna is producing and that can sometimes be a bit of a hard pill to swallow, especially given the aggressive nature of some of the noise elements coupled with some lengthy tracks; Caïna doesn’t give the listener any respite. However, this adds both to the mystique of the music and the general sense of unease the listener is put through through. ‘Canto IV’ is a prime example of this. Clocking in at four minutes and 27 seconds, it’s one of the album’s shorter tracks. Laced with constant white noise effects and bolstered by harrowing vocals, it’s a challenging listen yet there is something about it which means you can’t stop listening.
What is evident throughout Caïna’s music is that there is some sense of conflict between light and dark, and it is when the softer elements on the album blend with the more traditional black metal sounds that this really shines through, occasionally leading the record in a direction of hope, rather then remaining entirely bleak. Caïna may not be to everyone’s taste, and there are some elements of Gentle Illness which are more difficult to digest than others, but what it’s creator has managed to do is produce a piece of art which is a representation his outlook on the world as it currently exists.
Gentle Illness is out now via Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings and can be purchased here.
Read more about Caïna and Gentle Illness in our exclusive interview here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck