A Crisis Of Faith
- Review by Mike Ciresi
Faith is a very interesting concept; it’s not all or nothing. You can lose it or gain more of it; it can make you and just as easily break you. Faith isn’t exclusively a religious belief; you can have it regardless of what you do or do not believe in.
If I like a band I find it exciting when I hear about an upcoming release and the day it will be placed into the bin for me to pick up and quickly get to the counter to seal the deal. I never open it before I get home; I want to get to my private space, get settled in and be able to do nothing but give it the respect it deserves. I want to focus on my new acquisition exclusively without interruption. With the sleeve/artwork in hand I wait for the moment when the sonic takes over and the journey begins. I don’t want to hear anything off the release until I’m in that space; I don’t need to because this is where my faith comes into play.
Did faith work in my favor this time? The answer to that question is an overwhelming “yes!”
“A Crisis of Faith” is exactly what I expect to hear from a metal band, and Kaine is that band. When I review an album, I don’t like to compare it to another band’s music or mention influences because their work should stand on its own. If I suggest that it sounds like “so and so” the audience will focus on that instead of the band at hand. Kaine is talented enough to stand up against any band on merit alone. They have earned the right to claim a spot as a headlining act.
“A Crisis of Faith” is the first album that I have heard from Kaine and it certainly won’t be my last.
So many bands, especially hard rock and heavy metal, rely on a hot shot lead guitar player to do a blazing speed solo to impress (most times) himself, separating himself from the band and a drummer to spill out a fast drum fill for the same effect. Even if they are great solos or fills, the songs become all about the pyrotechnics and not about the band sounding like one unit. People sit around listening, saying “Hey mate – just wait for the solo, it will blow you away” not really caring about the song as a whole or what gets you to that point. You don’t get that with the songs on this release; every musician in the band works together on all eight cylinders as a unit, doing what is best for the song.
I love the imagery the songs create both lyrically and instrumentally. The songs are not the typical intro, verse, solo, verse, chorus and out. They have multiple sections woven together with a Midas touch. Kaine’s strengths are numerous, explosive, a melting pot of mastery. I’m talking about guitar harmonies, dynamics, theater visions, multiple octave harmonies, a relentless rhythm section and no ego!
The production on this release is mind-blowing; the mixing is an example of how the big boys do it. The instruments come out clear and concise, the vocals right where they should be; nothing is lost, no stretching your ear trying to hear what’s going on with any particular part. There is nothing stale about it; it’s warm, punched out metal madness. No tin can muffled sonics on this trip.
This album is timeless; it could have been released in 1980 or tomorrow morning. It stands on its own; no apologies necessary. I put Kaine on high; these guys deserve the bows they receive from their fans and the industry. The musicians, the production, engineering and mixing make this the best metal album I have heard in decades.
Rage Sadler – Rhythm/Lead Guitar/Vocals (2009- )
Chris MacKinnon – Drums (2012- )
Saxon Davids – Rhythm/Lead Guitar (2014- )
Stephen Ellis – Bass (2015- )
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1. Voice in Hell:
The second the intro began I was hooked; this is the type of sound and progression that I live to hear in a metal song. The dirge, the murky haze created by the bluish green guitar harmonies, the pounding rhythm suggesting something wicked is coming. I pictured flames and heavy fog rising up over a mountain under a grey sky.
Then, in the blink of the eye you are thrust into a frenzied cyclone of thunderous instrumentation and lyric mastery. The course is set, you have to commit and stay locked in for the ride. The sky and ground open up at the same time and all of life’s questions and answers are thrust upon you in one single moment. The vocal and instrumentation are woven together with uncompromising precision. At this point in the song, if you have been listening to the exceedingly brilliant lyrics you know that you have to make a decision; which path will you seek?
The mid and solo sections give you all of the vital energy you need to make that decision. This moment is filled with imagery; think the “Wizard of Oz” changing from black and white to brilliant color. The soundscapes created by the crushing guitar harmonies and a clockwork rhythm section that hold you in place; the moment of truth now seeks you out.
You are now placed back into the final verse which brings you to the end of the battle. Are you looking up or are you looking down? Take a deep breath.
2. Heaven’s Abandonment:
Once again, the imagery and music of this song form a perfect puzzle. Every word and instrument is interlocked creating the perfect metal blueprint; precision at its zenith. The guitar interplay in the introduction evokes an image of a man looking out of a stained glass window at the life he has created for himself and at the moment, he feels content. The arpeggios of the guitar are angelic and confident; nothing negative is rearing its ugly head.
The bass and drums enter, ushering in a marching build up that may be suggesting all is not working in this man’s favor. This slow build illustrates that guitars and drums don’t have to be buried in the red to be heavy, dark and foreboding. It is relentless, giving you a clear vision of what is going in his mind; the thoughts are becoming more intense.
Now up from the flames rises yet another layer of guitar (hats off to the engineer) that is lightning hot; you know now that a battle is coming, the rage is starting to boil. The color of the stained glass slowly drips to the ground, bleeding away your reality. You are faced with what you fear most, the build is at a fever pitch; the glass shatters into the sky … you are now thrust into a hailstorm of fire, hold on for the ride.
The lyrics are very intelligent, well thought out, and complement the music perfectly. I don’t think, as the lyric suggests, anyone will be going down in flames, but rather fighting on and racing through them. The tempo keeps you grinding, sure to make you stomp your feet and shake your fists toward the infinite sky. The solo is perfect as if it was sent from heaven and hell at the same time, the drummer’s arms and legs furiously pounding and moving at a pace that could have melted him to his set. The bass run is moving with the same fire and fury which would be able to crush any form of metal obstacle that dared get in its way. The guitar solo is liquid lightning as fast as a lightning bolt moving from the sky to the ground; not a wasted note and clear as freshly polished chrome. All I could do was cheer for this metal machine as it ripped through this solo section, each instrument doing its own solo performance and at the same time, sounding like one monster coming up behind you to swallow your soul in one ferocious swoop.
No need for oxygen; just swallow the flame and spit it back at any cynic.
3. Fall of Jericho:
Thank heaven the band gave the bass guitar and drums the opening segment of this song. It sets off a golden blaze of heat that will break down any barrier that stands in its way. The rhythm guitar is there too, punching holes in the ground to swallow up the falling rot. Enter a sublime run of notes by the guitarist who evokes an Egyptian war cry; we stand ready.
As I listen, I am again amazed at the lyrics and the vocals. I can’t stress enough as to how important they have been to this entire album. I picture armies destroying each other at a blood curdling pace, the dry desert heat absorbing the pyramids falling to the ground as locusts swarm the damned.
Another multi-part masterpiece is presented to the listener as we travel through the verses and chorus. The mid-section; featuring a storm stampeding and sublime bass/drum combination lure you in and hold court until the next part rears its head. You are now re-loaded and ready for what is to come. Your vision is clear as you look into the flames.
The pendulum starts swinging in time with the band as the song marches forward, with sword in one hand and wisdom in the other. We are back to another verse, never losing one second of momentum as it has been raging since the intro. We are nearing what I feel to be one of the best endings to a metal song that I have ever heard. I don’t want this song to end but I know it is imminent.
And so begins the final conflict.
The blistering fretwork from the guitar and bass and the velocity of the drums force the listener to raise his hands beyond the sun, willing to follow the band through whatever is handed to him. Once again the ascending guitar harmony transforms murky skies and doom into hope and power. All I can picture now are the heathens that were slayed to the ground, and the chains that bound the innocent falling away. There is a lightning shower in one half of the sky and a relentless hailstorm of insects and poisonous snakes in the other half. The climax is building to a fever pitch; it is thrust into the sky shattering everything evil. The instruments begin to stomp and march through the lies and deceit of its enemies; the drums begin to rip the ground apart like a cyclone, the guitar and bass drilling holes through the damned to be left behind.
Without a moment’s notice the truth is known. With the long awaited Exodus, the soul is now free and so too are the righteous. Tomorrow’s dream becomes reality to me.
Thank you Kaine for keeping vision, imagery and metal music alive. You have made a true believer out of me…..I’ll keep the faith.