Dévotion devant l’éternal, soumission à l’ordre du ciel, ta créature en servitude. Viens mourrir [sic] dans mes bras assassins, frère innocent et à l’intention coupable… J’ai accepté l’absence de
dieu et je suis dans les âges la représentation du Mal.
Kainsmal is a great album by Germany’s Geïst, and it was the name too for a demo by German Doom-Death band Monument, but it also refers to a French act. It is a mysterious one – I cannot find any information about them – and the digipack does not reveal anything at all either. La Démence De Caïn (‘the dementia of Cain’) is, I think, the debut album, written and performed, mixed and mastered by Kainsmal, produced by The Ritual Productions, and released in a sober yet very fine digipack edition. So, let’s get over to the content, for I do not have any more background information.
La Démence De Caïn is an eight-tracker that was recorded on several occasions in 2017 and 2018. And I can be short about the essence: this is f*cking Black Metal for sure! Kainsmal perform a rather traditional (orthodox, if you want to) form of rough, nihilistic, uncompromising, thrashing and at the same time melodic Black Metal, with a lot of variation. That variety goes for both song structures and speed. The latter balances in between quite slow parts (the better part), often with a nastiness à la Hellhammer, over energetic and up-tempo excerpts, up to some fierce, blasting and little arrogant eruptions of skull-hammering destructivity. Minimally written and executed riffs interplay with groovier parts - is it a crazy idea to refer to Necromantia, for example, when listening to When The Light Is Opposed To Darkness (and some other chapters)? Indeed, I do not think it is such a weird comparison, for some reason. Some more melodious (twin) riffing, like in Darkness Descends amongst others, are a representation of a mostly epic, atmospheric and proud approach, while other pieces spit blood and venom with a blaspheme, diabolical attitude (cf. The Fall, amongst others).
The band does not reinvent the wheel. I won’t say that La Démence De Caïn is predictable, for it surprises more than once. But Kainsmal have not the pretention to act as if they create a whole new dimension. Traditional excerpts are injected by some epic, then again rather melancholic acoustic parts, several fire-breathing solos (listen to those fabulous leads at the beginning of L’Infamie Séculière) and sudden outbursts of grimness and evilness - the latter reminding me of the global Scandinavian scene from time to time.
The production is satisfying, I think. Because of a well-balanced mixture, all instruments (including the varying vocals, and varying means, indeed, quite some diversification! [PS: sung in both English and French]) are clearly hearable. And at the same time, there is a harshness, a rough-edged sound too, mocking clinical decency. And yeah, some more effort could have empowered the sonic result for sure, yet seen the typifying approach, this unpolished rawness does fit to the whole. It strengthens the specific groove that characterises several parts (no, I did not say that this album is grooving as in ‘Groove Metal’; let’s make abstraction of the difference in between both subjects).
I recommend going through this material more than one time. It is like a ‘growing album’, with several things you will unravel after a next listen, causing an increasing appreciation. The first time I was only limitedly enthusiastic, yet in the meantime, after several turns, I am aroused by the unique ‘simplicity’ (hey, it’s a compliment).