Red Cain – Kindred: Act II

Red Cain – Kindred: Act II
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 22/01/2021
Running Time: 36:45
Review by Simon Black

As you would imagine from the title, this is the second part of an arc of albums, although it’s not clear if there are more to come and it follows on from 2019’s Act I. This one has apparently been in the bag for a while but like so much of life had been put on hold in the hope that we would be back to normal, whatever that may mean in 2021. The band however have made the wise decision to keep their profile alive and if they’re really wise (or physically able), they should follow up with a live stream of some sort. I think we’re going to be waiting a while to see them in the flesh otherwise and they need to build that profile off the back of this little cracker of an album.

Musically Red Cain are an interesting hybrid. Although hailing from Alberta (which if you didn’t know is bang in the middle of Canada), their frontman is of Russian extraction and brings a highly eclectic vocal approach to this Progressive Power Metal act. It‘s the same effect you have from Nightwish’s Floor Jansen, who is unafraid to throw curve balls with her voice box that lend that act the sense that there’s a veritable choir of voices tucked away there. This three piece are equally gifted with a front man who can run the gamut of belting rock’n’roll, crisp and unerringly precise falsetto, a quite low tenor, epically haunting wails, some downright spooky whispers, traditional screams, death grunts and almost everything in between.

Musically it’s just as much of a mixed bag, with a remarkable rich and deep sound for a three piece, which leads me to suspect that the touring version will need some more manpower to do that rich sound justice, given that there are keyboards and multiple guitar layers to play with here. For a Prog Metal album, it’s also surprisingly short and to the point, with an overall run time just over thirty-five minutes and nothing hitting the six-minute mark. But then why record more minutes when you have nothing to say? Personally I take this positively, as too many acts in the Progressive field take far too long to get to the point, and even those at the top of the field sometime need to be reminded that less is more (sit down Dream Theater, you’re drunk).

The album kicks off with a couple of brilliantly technical and melodic tracks – ‘Kindred’, is heavy and showcases the skillset these guys have at their disposal in true Progressive style. ‘Demons’ is a much more catchy hook-based track, although no less technically capable, but with catchy riffs, melodies and enough commercial bent to pull in a new listener – whilst still playing to that vocal ambidextrousness with a couple of lines that wouldn’t sound amiss on a Marilyn Manson album. And then the album switches style and becomes haunting, moody and totally surprising with the falsetto introduction to ‘Precipice Of Man’, which fools you into thinking it’s a power ballad before belting you around the head with one of the heaviest bass sounds I have heard in a while and a much more extreme vocal sound. These kind of body swerves just keep coming, and are what makes this album such a refreshing change.

Sometimes however, the experimentation does not hit the mark, with ‘Baltic Fleet’ being just that little too technically speculative to work. It’s the technically most demanding track, and has an epic feel and lyrical content, but the tempo of the beat contrasts a bit too much and loses cohesion. This band are good at sounding different whilst still being catchy, and this is where this track falls down. But this is the only negative I can find, as the rest of the album keeps the interest whilst still sounding eminently listenable to, and I am feeling positive enough about this to go back and give their back catalogue a whirl.

Interesting, technically challenging and nearly always on the nail.

01. Kindred
02. Demons
03. Precipice Of Man
04. Baltic Fleet
05. Varyag And The Shrike
06. Sons Of Veles
07. Sunshine (Blood Sun Empire)

Evgeniy Zayarny – Vocals
Tyler Corbett – Guitars
Taylor Gibson – Drums


Ravenkin Photography

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