Cainan Dawn [France]
In just the past 3 months, we have already heard impressive releases from bands numerous pioneers of black metal, from the Psywar single of Mayhem to another new full length from Finnish black metal tyrants Sargeist. Osmose Productions decides to chime in as well with the release of French occult black metal band Cainan Dawn‘s sophomore full length album, Thavmial. With the number of remarkable black metal albums this early in the year, Cainan Dawn certainly has huge shoes to fill.
The occult themes are immediately obvious from opening track Keter, an ambient track that places the listener in the midst of a ritual and leaves one quickly feeling uneasy, with a dark omen of impending doom. Things get more exciting rather quickly as soon as The Brood hits the listener, and one is quickly reminded of the style of pioneers of black metal such as Mayhem, not only with the riffing of Avgruun, but also in the cold atmosphere that the band manages to evoke. Along with the gargled, undecipherable vocals of Heruforod, one could have easily mistaken him for speaking in tongues, a nice touch to the theme of occultism and mysticism of Cainan Dawn.
For all it’s atmosphere and ambient, Cainan Dawn still manages to retain an energetic touch to their brand of black metal, and this often through the hyperactive work of drummer Hljodr, often giving the band a nice sound that is reminiscent of Tsjuder, Urgehal or Gorgoroth. The epic, war-like tone of his drums even brings in some slight Bathory influence, helping to add a rather belligerent touch to the album. The slower moments on the album, like the transition between World Among Worlds and Kaon also bring about some nice Inquisition-like sounds, further enhancing that ritualistic aspect of the album.
The thing about Cainan Dawn is that despite their French origin, there is very little French influence that were spotted on Thavmial, be it in the dissonance of Deathspell Omega or in the shoegaze of Alcest, et al., utilising them sparingly, resulting in an album that is extremely effective and memorable without being overly weird or jarring.
So while waiting for the new Mayhem to drop later this year, Cainan Dawn‘s Thavmial is probably the best black metal album of the year thus far.