Finnr’s Cane is an Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal band from Ontario, Canada. This rather new act was recently signed with Prophecy Productions to release their debut full-length recording, Wanderlust, an atmospheric and ambient effort of the aforementioned styles. With a raw production quality and a cold musical backdrop, Wanderlust makes it’s way to the ears of fans looking for emotionally gripping material. But, does this release deliver, or does this debut fall short?
Much of the material on Wanderlust goes at a traditional slower Doom Metal pace, and can often share the same kind of burdening sensation that comes with the practice of it. While the inclusion of such a slower pace and musical sensation can work wonders for a band trying to create something that will grip the listener emotionally, it needs to be properly executed with the music. While the general production quality and overall sound is reminiscent of other more emotion-driven Atmospheric Black Metal acts like Lantlos and Alcest, the problem is that there’s too much noise in the raw recording, coupled with the fact that the music really just isn’t that great to begin with. “The Healer” is just a slow acoustic piece that offers a melancholic feel, but musically it just feels hollow and unmoving, the only element working in it’s favor is a sense of ice, but that can’t compensate for the overall boring sense you get from the music itself. This instrumental lasts for a solid three minutes, but it won’t take that long for you to realize this effort may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
While “The Healer” comes off to be more then a simple introductory track, “Snowfall” essentially feels the same way, though not an acoustic piece, and features vocals. The song itself feels cold, giving the sensation of ice, and also shares the same boring traits. The music is slow paced again, and the song just seems to go on forever with no real end in sight. The distortion on the guitar is very loud and the pitch is enough to give someone a headache from the loud static it seems to make. The vocals are completely lost in the mix, and there just feels to be no emotion whatsoever in the music. Of course, some tracks manage to add a little speed and extra bite, but it’s typically only for a short amount of time, like with the following song “A Winter for Shut-Ins”, and then it’s back to the slower paced music that sounds heavily static driven with vocals you can’t hear. These faster sections do give the album a little more to go with, and actually greatly reduces that static white noise sound that becomes such a heavy annoyance.
“Glassice” is one of the few tracks on here that really becomes interesting. Musically, it’s about the same as “The Healer”, but it’s a longer track and seems to find the band giving it a little more depth with that aforementioned feeling of ice. The song is performed with acoustic guitars, ridding the static and white noise from the recording, which makes it a little more enjoyable then the others, and the bass manages to add just enough of a kick to the music that is becomes a whole other element to the song instead of just specifically playing the same exactly chords the guitar is to match it and emphasize it and nothing else. The song does manage to pick up with the cellos actually come into play near the last minute and a half, and the music starts to become rich, full, and vibrant with a melancholic, icey presence. Why this richness has not been established in other tracks to this rather loud and classical approach to the music isn’t utilized to stir the emotions on other songs, especially even this song for more then a minute and a half, is beyond all comprehension. “The Hope for Spring” utilizes some faster music that manages to overtake the noise of the recording for a majority of the song, and even the slower elements become a little stronger because of how short they are, and the addition of vocals that are audible, leaving it all to feel natural and a little richer, and the bass on “Eternal” helps the song a bit to again capture that icey atmosphere, and some additional keyboards in the back help to make the song sound a little richer, but it winds up being more the kind of song you would just have in the background instead of something you’d just sit down and listen to. There’s also a very random drop in the music that occurs at three and a half minutes, leaving the music to sound like it reached it’s end abruptly, then quickly fades back in. Perhaps this was some sort of glitch in the recording studio no one ever fixed? Whatever it is, it’s right in the middle of the song and has no reason to be there other then keep the listener on his or her toes, if the listener is even still awake. It also happens near the every end, except the song ends, then just seems to jump back in as if the CD went back two seconds.
The production ont he album is raw, like usual, but the guitars are louder then everything else and quickly drown out everything but the drums. The bass become audible sometimes, but with that it just seems like they were podded up in the production as some songs don’t have the bass anywhere near as clear and audible as others. It’s distinctive on “The Hope for Spring”, and yet “House of Memory” and even “Snowfall” seem to be completely without bass. Many of the songs sound really close to one another to the point where you will swear the CD looped back without you realizing, and the static on those loud guitars becomes painfully annoying. What’s more, the music itself sounds hollow most of the time, leading to an album that doesn’t sound emotional, but rather an endurance test to put up with boredom and unemotional music. The lack of vocals, which are completely drowned out in the mix, is not something to work int he album’s favor, and having them more prodominant in the final mix easily would have aided the album in becoming much richer and ultimately more enjoyable. The random keyboards and cellos that appear almost randomly once in a specific song make the tracks sound stronger, but they don’t last, and if they appear elsewhere, they are almost, or are completely drowned out by the guitars. While a raw quality can help an effort sound far more melancholic when the band doesn’t have the talent to portray that sound through the music itself, this album becomes a shining example of why an analog quality doesn’t make everything automatically sound good, and still needs to be handled with care from the start.
While Wanderlust isn’t the worst album, and may not be the most engaging release ever, it does have a few good moments to it, but it really lacks on many levels. Overall, it’s an album that die hard fans of the emotional Black Metal sound will eat up, but even then only to a certain point. The lack of rich music that feels unique to every other track on the album really hurts the album, and makes one question whether watching paint dry would be as fun, if not more enjoyable all together then suffering through a little over forty eight minutes of boring, hollow, unemotional material from Finnr’s Cane. For a debut album, the band leaves a rather forgetful musical impact that is further hurt by the overall recording quality of the music itself.