Caina Christ Clad in White Phosphorus 01Dante Alighieri once said “The path to paradise begins in Hell.” Andy Curtis-Brignell and Laurence Taylor, the backbone of Caïna, hold these powerful words close and no album makes this more apparent than their new outing – Christ Clad in White Phosphorus. Take a step backwards if you wil: in 2007 the UK anomaly brought forth the bitter-sweet droning of Mourner, a year later they diverged into ear-friendly post-rock with Temporary Antenna, Hands that Pluck offered “straight-up” black metal, while Litanies of Abjection and Setter of Unseen Snares sent you scrambling for that trusty bottle of Prozac hidden in the darkest recesses of your closet! No matter where or when you entered Caïna‘s discography, it’s soon apparent that no two Caïna albums are the same and at times it’s even a stretch of the imagination believing a single creative force stands behind this artistry. True to form, Christ Clad in White Phosphorus quickly establishes that, after a 20-month wait, it’s a well-formed, fascinating and unrepentant piece of art. You’d be wise to remember today, for it’s the beginning of always.

To tweak another Dante-ism, the more a thing is perfect, the more it exerts pleasure and pain. No words could align more absolutely with how Christ Clad in White Phosphorus plays out. From the get-go, “Oildrenched and Geartorn” mechanically works its way under your skin. It’s an understated throwback to the minimalism and overbearingly gloomy 80s darkwave scene and bands like Bauhaus. I won’t lie, it plays on for such an extended period of time, it had me checking my headphones to see if they were functioning correctly. And then the big transition, “Torture Geometry” drags you into a hellish cacophony of muddy, churlish black metal. Sonically it plays to it’s title perfectly, the shape and relative arrangement of the song-parts, of the vocals, fighting the mechanical rhythm left over from the opening track.


Christ Clad ends up being a cvlt journey through sound effect/noise across 4 tracks, seamlessly woven into ruthless Norwegian styled black metal tainted with ugly doom and black ‘n roll experiments over 6 tracks, all brought to a close with a 80s darkwave styled excursion. Of the effect/noise tracks “The Throat of the World” brings to mind a blend of Ulver and Skitliv, creating an environment that feels nothing short of alien. “Pillars of Salt” is a convoluted, abandoned amusement park put to music as only Kristoffer Rygg could do, but this time combined with the disjointedness of Igorrr. The last of the noise tracks, an 11-minute plus epic, washes over you in waves much like “Not Saved.”

Stepping through what I’m going to term the “musical” tracks, “Fumes of God” features one of the few breezy and some might say “uplifting” moments of this hellish journey. Caïna quickly crush it, putting an abrupt end to their foible as “Gazing on the Quantum Megalith” opens with a few moments of Pain-riddled industrial metal, before falling back on muddy, washing-machine-like black ‘n roll. “God’s Tongue as an Ashtray” follows reminding me early on of Taake, folding in and on itself before successfully dabbling in the kind of funeral doom I crave from Loss. The back end of the album doesn’t let up. Aggressive, hammering drums and guitars form a wall-of-noise and  introduce “Entartete Kunst” before “The Promise of Youth” rounds out, alluding to the kind of engulfing melancholy, pain and lack of promise that befits an outing with Deadspace.

Caina Christ Clad in White Phosphorus 02

A big part of what makes Christ Clad in White Phosphorus work, comes from Andy Curtis-Brignell and Laurence Taylor’s combined vocal contributions. Their vocal theatrics range from disjointed, incoherent rasps on “Torture Geometry,” to bludgeoning blackened croaks and barks side-by-side with clean spoken word and the isolated lamentations of a voice trapped in a radio transmission on “God’s Tongue as an Ashtray” and “Entartete Kunst.” On an album already packed with experimentation and weird influence this just adds another hook.

Christ Clad in White Phosphorus is unlike anything Caïna have done before. Were I hard-pressed to liken it to their earlier work, I’d say that it’s probably closest to the flow of Mourner but darker and with far less “pretty” melodic reprieve. This is an excellent album, though not necessarily an easy listen, and I expect it’ll appeal to a niche market, but if you’re a fan of Caïna and you’re willing to put in the time to truly appreciate their fine artistry, this is a hellish trip worth taking.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings
Websites: facebook.com/cainaband
Releases Worldwide: July 15th, 2016

Share →
  • André Snyde Lopes

    Stoked to eventually get my hands on this. Snares was my first from them and I thought it was excellent!

    • It was an excellent release, in hindsight I wonder whether I should have rated it slightly higher… Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Nah, there’s already too much overrating going around elsewhere. A 3.5 by you is worth more than a 5 in most other places.

        • John

          Truth.

  • Madam, wow, this looks on paper amazing.

  • AndySynn

    Shockingly I think this is one of those rare occasions where the AMG staff gave an album a (slightly) higher rating than I did.

    Truly, these are the end times.

    • Now that my review is up I’m keen to read yours. I try and stay away from other reviews until my opinions are fully formed.

      • AndySynn

        I tend to lock down my own opinion, and then check out if there are any other reviews that might have some info or insight I missed… though these days I’m trying more and more to have some sort of “theme” behind my review, some sort of “angle”, so it speaks to something a bit wider in scope (though that’s not always possible).

        Think the Caina review should be out next month anyhow (I do occasionally lose track of the publishing schedules). Though 115 words is a tight count to work within!

        • That is pretty tight. I look forward to reading it!

  • It is one of the few bands that succeeds at whatever they do. Setter of Unseen Snares was one of my most spinned album back when it came out.
    This is a very good write-up and it is right on point with the subject.

  • Reese Burns

    I’m in.

  • Martin Roth

    Minor nitpick: The review makes it sound like this has been a two-piece all the time. “The backbone” of Caïna has always been Andy Curtis-Brignell, as he did all releases before 2014 on his own. Otherwise well stated, it does bring together a whole bunch of weirdly fitting influences.

    • Yeah, the promo and the reference sites came across as vague about when Laurence became involved and to what level. There were also some other contributors on this album, but again these were so vaguely referenced I left them out completely to avoid further confusion. Thanks for the heads up, much appreciated!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I like that “an album by Caïna” subtitle thing they did on the cover.

    • Agreed, pretty stylish!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Reminds me of
      “Winterhorde’s Maestro”, rather than simply

      “Winterhorde
      Maestro”

      It’s the small things

  • Who are these Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recorders and where have they been all my life? How is this the first album of theirs to make it on the site? Mortichnia is fucking awesome.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Nice work Madam X,
    I will definitely check this out. I love the album art too, thats great work.

  • Alexandre Barata

    Caïna is that band that I’m always eager to listen to anything new they release, but then I don’t ever get to love their releases. I don’t remember a bad Caïna album, but can’t think of any that I can define as essential either.
    This is a cool album, although not very solid, like a bag of many tricks. Still there’s nothing wrong with it, but I can’t love it.

  • Dion Ka

    Holy Shit you mentioned Igorrr. I have to listen to the Album. I discovered Igorr from a streamer who played an Igorrr Song on osu!. He is so great how he puts all the different influences in his music and makes it work. I’m looking forward to the listening experience with Caïna.

    • I found Igorrr quite by accident also, one of my favorite finds! There’s a small nod to Igorrr on one of the tracks only, but it’s very welcome and nicely incorporated :)

  • Martijn Brugman

    I like what I’m hearing, but hear this Angry Metal buddies: It is unwise to fall asleep with your ear on the tweeter when blasting black metal through it, as the guys who mixed this clearly did.

  • Requiem

    This took forever to click with me but I’m glad it has.