Kaine are back with their eagerly awaited follow up to 2nd album and fan favourite ‘The Waystone’. The band have had some line up changes through the years but this is the most focused and together line up Kaine has had and it shows incredibly via the standard of this immense record.
Opener ‘Heavens Abandonment’ absorbs you with one of the most stunning acoustic guitar sounds I have ever heard. The percussion elements that follow are inventive and interesting, it hooks me from the off. A blinding intro that segways into Kaine's signature NWOBHM tinged escapades. Rage's fiery vocals command the rest of the song and we are away into a brand new record that is bristling with energy.
Bass player Stephen Ellis is one of the undiscovered gems of the UK underground music scene. The man could join Snarky Puppy or Dream Theater tomorrow and no one would bat an eye lid. His bass playing is astounding to say the least. He shows his ridiculous chops throughout ‘Fall of Jericho’, a song which has the biggest choruses on the record. Complete with a bass solo and drum solo it is clear that this band have delved way beyond a genre tag here.
‘A Night Meets Death’ opens with a stunning fretless ambient bass part. It then explodes into a fast paced wander round the houses of melodic fantasy for every instrument. Chris showcases some incredible blast beats with seamless conviction. It takes a few listens to appreciate how broad the scope of layering is on this track.
Title track ‘A Crisis of Faith’ is lyrically the most inviting. You can hear Rage really invested in every word he is saying on this record and it is most notable in the chorus here. It is rightly the over arching theme. Rage is an interesting musical presence and I feel this poetically mirrors his frustrations at the music scene, whether that was intentional or not.
‘Afterlife’ brings back that stunning acoustic sound. Saxon's touch on the guitar is second to none. A real technician of his instrument. More on that later. Distorted harmonics to bring in the heavy mid tempo pace of the track. I really no longer hear the NWOBHM any more. This is just great metal. Inventive, refreshing and full of life.
The bridge section in ‘Frailty of the Blade’ is one of the best pieces of music I have heard in a long time. It is picturesque. It is subtle and it makes way for a beautifully simplistic and tasteful solo from Saxon that then builds to a mammoth climax and possibly one of the best metal guitar solos I have heard in the last decade. It then flows effortlessly back into the high octane chorus with ease.
Following track 'Voice in Hell' opens with a heavy and slow tempo riff I wouldn't usually associate with NWOBHM. It then double times as the vocal tears up the track. Vocally this is Rage's finest moment. His voice is phenomenal on this song. ‘Behind the Preacher's Eyes’ echoes back to ‘The Waystone’. It has that classic 80s metal vibe throughout but with some interesting time changes that retain the identity of Kaine and the undeniable talent of every member in the band.
My favourite track by far is ‘The Mind Is Willing’ which I believe was penned by the drummer... hear me out... Chris's sense of melodic structure within the context of this band is just a perfect combination. It's a delicate blend of classic and modern metal. Chris takes the lead vocal on this song and his vocals are a welcome change and give a new flavour to the melodic aspects of the band. He reminds me of ‘Hours’ era ‘Funeral for a Friend’. Just infectiously melodious without ever seeming out of place with the visceral chops of Rage's voice on the rest of the record.
A piano track opens the album closer ‘Alone’. With a raise of feedback and a hench riff that Zakk Wylde would be proud of, Rage puts his stamp and control back on the album. The 8+ minute track is foreboding towards the end with ominous choral vocal arrangements. A fabulous ending to ‘A Crisis of Faith’. The pacing is considered and as a result the album is over in a flash. It does not seem as if over an hour has passed by. The album fades away with a guitar outro that leads us to question what's next?
This is undeniably a contender for metal album of the year for me already. I feel Kaine need to drop the NWOBHM tag. They are so much more than this now. They have a sound and it's new and refreshing to me. The combination of players is pushing this band into being pioneers of their own soundscape. As ever, BUY THIS RECORD.
Fall of Jericho
A Night Meets Death
A Crisis of Faith
Frailty of the Blade
Voice in Hell
Behind the Preacher's Eyes
The Mind Is Willing
Rage Sadler – Guitars/Vocals
Saxon Davids – Guitars/Vocals
Stephen Ellis – Bass
Chris Mackinnon – Drums/Percussion/Vocals