The greater Sudbury area in southern Ontario first saw mankind roughly nine thousand years ago in the form of Chippewa natives inhabiting a basin newly unsheathed of it’s glacial ice. From there no great destruction came until a railway through brought decimation to the land thanks to the discovery of copper and nickel rich veins throughout the region. Iron refineries and acid rain soon followed and much of the basin was destroyed. Only obsolescence would ease the land’s suffering. Now dreary and inconsequential as a city, Sudbury can at least boast inspiration for pragmatic naturalist atmospheric black metal band Finnr’s Cane. On their third album ‘Elegy’ the trio discover, and largely master, the intent missing from their earlier releases and provide some palpable conviction as a result.
Inspired by the early-to-mid 2000’s most capable elucidation of the potential expressive freedom inherent to atmospherics key to the success of artful groups like Agalloch, Woods of Ypres, Drudkh, and Wolves in the Throne Room; the Slave (keyboards), the Peasant (drums) and the Bard (guitars/vocals) set upon their own journey around 2007. They began sounding as a mix of Wolves in the Throne Room and the folkish bent of October Falls thanks to a fair measure of early Ulver influence. Every trapping of minor-chord gloom associated with modern atmospheric black metal was there but the key distinction felt on ‘Wanderlust’ (2010) was coldness. Less a chilling melodrama and more an inexperienced tapestry without real direction. Some time and meditation brought warmth and definition on ‘A Portrait Painted By The Sun’ (2013) that saw more confident instrumentation with a dead-eyed stare.
‘Elegy’ has yearning, warmth and beauty going for it but none of these things stand out in a landscape dotted by the Lantlôs and Kauan‘s of the world. The key to longevity here is structure and performative pacing, ingredients the Bard boasts and most of his peers lack. I’d liken this leap what Drudkh did with ‘Estrangement’ as innovation became necessary the artist’s proof is in adaptation. Sure, this is still slow and gloomy atmospheric black metal with some folkish elements; The songwriting is creative but not intended to thrill yet ‘Elegy’ reeks less of post-metal blandness than ever before. Instead I’m convinced Finnr’s Cane have achieved the sincere, maturing oasis they’d intended.
Even if you’re not prone to connect with the resplendent sorrow of Finnr’s Cane‘s semi-progressive atmospheric blackened post-metal it shouldn’t be hard to at least see their vision and potentially ‘feel’ the intent. This new resonance still comes with relatively simple layers of instrumentation but plays with more sounds in key places such as the flutes of “Empty City” and the early Woods of Ypres-esque refrains of closer “A Sky of Violet and Pearl”. The guitar work also begins to touch upon the ‘dark metal’ spectrum as the Bard‘s tone finds greater meaning outside of the lo-fi buzz-and-jangle of typified atmospheric black noise.
There are a few tracks to recommend for preview but I would suggest the flow of the experience is more interesting than any one particular ‘single’. “Willow” easily and beautifully communicates a folkish, post-black intent that reaches back towards their earliest inspirations whereas the combination of the title track and “Strange Sun” deconstructs those ideas into two entities; The first at ease and the second a strong kick of mid-paced black metal. “Empty City” and “Earthsong” as a duo represent the strongest peak of ‘Elegy’ for my taste and from there Finnr’s Cane more or less offer a place to rest away any weariness; There is no great challenge or innovation to pine over and instead they offer a 40+ minute dance that focuses on the dynamic possibilities of the atmosphere they create. I didn’t find ‘Elegy’ personally memorable but there is some redeeming value in it’s quiet, reflective exploration.
|Released||July 20, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Prophecy Productions’ Bandcamp!||Follow Finnr’s Cane on Facebook|
|Genre||Atmospheric Black Metal
Timbres of great solace. 3.25/5.0
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