Britain’s Caïna has returned to black metal; so declares Earth Inferno’s press sheet. After emerging from hiatus, seemingly concluding with the sublime Hands That Pluck, Andrew Curtis-Brignell’s Caïna began occupying a totally different musical realm with Litanies of Abjection, a record more in tune with Coil, Swans and shades of noise and power electronics. The raw black metal of, say, When We Are Grown, We Will Be Strong, seemed like a distant memory. Or not.
Earth Inferno’s tracks aren’t exactly new – save for one – with most of the material penned between 2008 and 2011, when our knowledge of Caïna included records like Temporary Antennae or the split with Krieg, so the cassette release occupies a decidedly BM realm.
Suitably lo-fi and grimy, Earth Inferno is a defiant call to sounds of yore. While much more in the vein of orthodox black metal, there are still strains of melodic grandeur from the likes of Temporary Antennae to maintain a recent flair, keeping the EP from ever being one dimensional.
The EP comes out of the blocks straight away with ‘The Last Lantern’ and ‘Conquering Worm’, where a flurry of miasmic guitars and typically juddering drums are complemented by corrosive and scathing vocals, letting off an altogether Finnish vibe, the latter toying with some slower tempos too.
‘Macuñ’ offers an eerie respite from the corrosive air that preceded it but is no less rife with unnerving atmosphere as wretched groans force their way through a blanket of frost-bitten ambience, laying a path down for ‘Death Posture’, a steam train of convulsive black metal that’s one of the more straightforward tracks on the EP.
‘Teeth Eating Teeth,’ the closer, is a different breed of animal though, where initially our protagonist unleashes an unholy hail of blasting black metal that eventually begins to recoil into a serene midway passage, lulling us into a false finish as scorching guitars and vocals soon return, topped with radiant lead fretwork to pull the curtains on the tape.
Caïna’s reactivation is clearly bearing plenty of fruit, and with a new album pencilled in for next year as well as a split with Njiqahdda and a collaboration with Krieg, it seems like Curtis-Brignell is occupying Caïna’s time with black metal for the foreseeable future, and Earth Inferno, though brief, tells us that he’s got plenty in his arsenal.