This was an unexpected surprise. I had thought that Christ Clad In White Phosphorouswas 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 Caïnato be committed to tape.
2016 has been the year that saw me listen to, and review, more music than ever before. For every release that gets reviewed, there’s several that I don’t have the time to write something on; or that I listen to, but simply don’t get excited over. It’s also worth bearing in mind the purposes of this blog – exploring the underground. With the odd exception (such as the new Darkthrone), I have no interest in writing in the “big” releases; I want to help give some exposure and coverage to the small and underground, not go chasing whatever review or feature will get me the most hits. I’d also point out that it’s easy to lose sense of what actually is mainstream and underground when you spend so much time immersed in music. Sure, everyone may have access to Bandcamp and Youtube and a legion of Spotify recommendations, but it’s easy to overestimate just how big our favourite bands are.
That said, there’s still some mainstream releases I’ve really enjoyed this year and want to share some thoughts on in another post. But here, I want to take the time to give shout-outs to those more underground releases which didn’t quite make the cut for my list of 25 favourites of the year.
Guilt And His Reflection is a bit more ambitious than most splits. Whereas the majority of split records have their halves constructed in isolation, and might as well be two separate EPs pressed on a single physical record, this split between Cara Neir and Wildspeaker sees the bands tackle a unified concept. In fact, it might be the first ‘concept split album’ I’ve come across. Tackling the psychological horror of cannibalism in a post-apocalyptic scenario, Guilt And His Reflection is an intriguing enough idea; but musically, it’s also one of the strongest splits I’ve heard in some time, with both bands really surpassing themselves, making this one of the stand-out blackened crust releases of the year.