Kaine - A Crisis of Faith

Kaine A Crisis of Faith cover
A Crisis of Faith
Revival Metal Records
For the second time this year I’ve run across a highly eclectic and ephemeral traditional/power metal outfit from England, which manages to sound compellingly radio-friendly while fervently driving its point home in a most unorthodox manner, as well as percolating with numerous subtle details one readily glimpses with each subsequent listen. In fact, such kaleidoscopically melodic countenance even evokes Borrowed Time’s titular debut from 2013, a ticklish treasure of a find in its own right.
With the lovably festive and fabled, Leeds based Dream Troll being the first, I’m proud to introduce Kaine, a four-man operation originating from Essex and now based in Colchester, which released its third full-length instalment (since founding in 2010), “A Crisis of Faith”, via Revival Metal Records. Comprised of ten tracks averaging six minutes and bursting at the seams with languidly enchanting intros, widely varying and constantly rollicking guitar riffs fervently complimented by fluidly syncopating solos, overtly resounding and, at times, downright knockabout, sac-kicking bass lines, as well as quizzically tumbling, hat trampling drum beats/fills, the album will likely catch most off guard at first but fear not as it’ll surely grow on you over time. In other words, it feels like, after years of fine-tuning and perseverance, the gang has finally come into its own and sorted out past kinks which, according to a fellow review in the band’s regard, consisted of haphazard, uncoordinated musicianship suffering from disjointed song constructs (hence, its “highs” were unceremoniously shadowed by an abundance of “lows”).
Well, from all outward appearances, Kaine has solidly tightened the screws on its elaborately conjoined and often unpredictable rhythms as each track confidently flows with grace from one to the next without suffering from repetition or convolution, which is perhaps the reason why the roughshod “The Waystone” (from 2014) barely received a passing grade. Even the mellower “Afterlife” and “Frailty of the Blade (Stephen’s Song)” are richly possessed of harmonious hooks and leads while crushingly cruising humdingers, such as “Heaven’s Abandonment” and “Behind the Preacher’s Eyes”, the most direct and no frills number amongst its Christianity themed brethren, poignantly showcase the members’ individual skills, from Chris MacKinnon’s Macarena tinged drum intro on the former to the ax men’s hasty and scratchily etched chops. In fact, the razor-edged, soaring and undeniably cool guitar riff properly launching “Heaven’s Abandonment” reminds me of Black Moor’s choice cut “Crossing the Rubicon”, whilst the languidly textured, Persian sounding main riff to “Fall of Jericho” gratifyingly suits Stephen Ellis’ funky as fuck bass intro and quasi-Seinfeld-ish solo halfway through, compounded as it is by a freewheeling, offhand drum medley. An aspect I particularly dig about Kaine is how outlandishly the bass lines stick out; suffice to say, they act as much more than grovelling backing accompaniment. One of the first things you’ll notice when giving this a cursory listen is their clearly audible presence as they provide each song with its own nifty undertow, be it stand-alone or in conjunction with the other multi-faceted components. As a side note, Ellis is a former member of the jocosely named Drop Dead Fred, which I had the opportunity to see live at the 2013 Armstrong Metal Fest here in B.C.’s Southern Interior.
Front man/guitarist Rage Sadler and his fellow six-stringer, Saxon Davids (Toby Woods is the new guitarist), work in wicked tandem, whether they’re laying down choppily grooving riff foundations or elevating the tracks to new heights with their melodiously accelerated power-meets-NWOBHM lead trade-offs, which act as a sparkling polish to the otherwise grippingly phrased rhythms (they also fiercely parallel the riffs, as opposed to wildly taking off in all directions while simply sticking in the same key). Stellar examples include the breaks to the back-to-back “Frailty of the Blade (Stephen’s Song)” and lyrically reflective “Voices in Hell”, which, in my opinion, harbors the most energetic and doodling bass line of the album, albeit in a more subtle manner than say, “Fall of Jericho” and “A Night Meets Death”, both of which are highlighted, if not specifically driven, by Ellis’ bass.
Sadler’s scruffy albeit concise mid-range vocals further enhance “Crisis of Faith”’s accessibility, especially on the immeasurably catchy choruses, notably the title track’s, as well as “Voices in Hell”’s, which memorably closes the latter following an extensive solo section. In regards to the album’s rather drawn-out, hour long length, rest assured, as with the individual tracks, it mercifully doesn’t wear out its welcome; this also includes the pair of eight minute closers, “The Mind is Willing” and “Alone (In My Forgotten Rage)”, which, thanks to their swift, multi-layered dispositions, readily keep the listener on their toes, the former’s swooning chorus and folksy harmonies as well as the latter’s continuous hard-driving and tension building edge withstanding. That’s another thing to mull over: the boys effortlessly maintain a dramatic grip throughout the entire affair, right up to the final track’s clean, analog sounding denouement, thus easily cajoling the listener into repeated listens.
As a parting thrust, make sure not to confuse Kaine with Cain – a rather foreboding and raw thrash act hailing from Buffalo, New York – as “A Crisis of Faith” is the brainchild of the “big K easy” variation of said Biblical reference. With this is mind, mark my words as the Brits are well on their way of making a name for themselves within both their entourage and the metal World at large.