Caïna / Cara Neir – Split


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.

Caïna take the first side of the split, with their track ‘Rhosneigr’ being an industrial black metal behemoth, propelled along with a physicality and sense of urgency that’s as devastating as anything the likes of Mysticum have recorded. Vocalist Lawrence (who also fronts Cold Fell) is in rabid form, his snarled vocals dripping with disdain and venom. Behind him, the guitars move like giants astride a wasteland – they sound absolutely huge, yet with a real crunch and power. Subtle melody runs throughout the track, but the lasting impression is of just how muscular it is, even as it ends with a slow shift in to a dark ambient style outro. This is a primal farewell note from one of the most creative forces the UK underground has seen, and reinforces exactly why they will be so missed.

Cara Neir’s offering, ‘Stained Grey Bones’, is a different sort of beast. As with their tracks on their split with Wildspeaker, the influence of the more creative, adventurous strands of hardcore can be felt in their music. Chris Francis’ vocals are so desperate as to be almost primal, and stand in stark contrast to the almost graceful way that the music often moves – the basslines are especially worthy of note, carrying the melody through stretches of the song where the guitars move in more soaring, adventurous directions. Cara Neir are a band that seem to improve with each release, and this one is no exception.

A fine split, then, between two of the more creative and emotional underground bands of recent times. Caïna bow out whilst offering further evidence of why they were one of the leading lights of the UK underground; whilst Cara Neir continue their fine run of form.

Split is available via Broken Limb Recordings on 7″ olive green vinyl, limited to 300 copies; and digitally via Bandcamp.

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