Cairn: As for Dragons

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Cairn: As for Dragons
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Cairn: As for Dragons
Acoustic, Folk Metal, Progressive Black Metal
Self-release
December 21st, 2013
Release length:
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Cairn is the solo side-project of Samu Rahn, a man known for his time in The Living Fields, Fields of Burden and Wintering. The project came to life back in 2008, and even though a good number of compositions had been penned, only a handful were recorded to compose the debut EP Raise the Cairn. Two years after the first critically approved outing, Samu returns with four more performances that comprise the follow-up release As for Dragons. Is the majesty captured once more, or is this new effort a step backwards?

As for Dragons is sort of split into two different releases, a compilation if you will. The title track is actually a song that was composed for a full-length concept album that Samu claims is nearly done. When you sit down and listen to it with that knowledge in mind, you can kind of see it. The guitars start rather abruptly, building for about a minute as the music becomes a bit sharper as well, but not shy of throwing some cleaner Progressive Metal inspired riffs that really set a majestic landscape. The harsher rasps with backing growls definitely lend an aura of intensity to the main verses, really separating them from the largely melodic music everywhere else. It’s an interesting piece that feels like it should be something that comes later on in an album the more you listen to it. While a solid performance overall, it leaves you wanting to hear it in context with the rest of the album, especially after the somewhat depressive Black Metal performance that wraps things up.

After that impressive start, the mood shifts as abruptly as the EP starts take a sudden shift. The last three “compris the Sunlit Chambers suite” according to the press release, all of which composed and performed on an acoustic guitar, and feature the musical input of Johan Becker. Much like the majestic Folk influences of “As for Dragons,” this simple acoustic beauty is captivating. While soothing, it doesn’t quite match the atmospheric power of “Mossen,” which is a bit richer thanks to the additional pianos and keyboards that sound more like violins. The sound of someone walking around or digging on occasion give you the feeling of moving about in a cabin deep in the woods. At the same time, this will immediately appeal to some gamers, as it sounds like the score to Minecraft when night falls. The same goes to “Fellwards” to an extent, though set more to day time. Again the keyboards are present in some spots, and the acoustic leads are much louder and catchier than the tame rhythm chords. Again the sensation of nature is as recognisable as the zen-like sensation the calming music puts together.

While As for Dragons is a relatively short four song EP, it manages to accomplish a lot in a very short amount of time. While the last three songs on this are the heart of the recording, “As for Dragons” reminds listeners that this project isn’t all just acoustic performances and woodland settings. In fact that very first track is enough to make fans of the Progressive Black Metal genre want to hear the concept album that it is set to appear on. From lower tuned acoustics to furious and depressing blackened passages, As for Dragons is an album that will appeal to fans of Metal, all the way to those who can appreciate a classically inspired soft musical performance while punching trees. Considering you can grab the digital version through Cairn‘s Bandcamp page at a “name your price” cost, there’s no reason to not add this impressive recording to any playlist.

01. As for Dragons – 6:18
02. Shoelorn – 3:42
03. Mossen – 2:29
04. Fellwards – 4:51
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Cairn
Cairn

Digital review copy of this release provided by Cairn.