Finnr's Cane - A Portrait Painted By The Sun (2013)
Review by Trevor Proctor
Finnr’s Cane is a three piece doom/ambient/atmospheric black metal band from Sudbury, Ontario – its members are anonymously named the Slave, (cello and keyboards) the Peasant (drums) and the Bard who assumes vocal and guitar duties. This is their second release following their 2010 debut, “Wanderlust” with the line up being unchanged since then.
Wanderlust saw the band propelled into a prosperous “post black” scene yet Finnr’s Cane managed to craft a distinctive sound. The band cites black metal as being a definite influence but there’s so much more to this band and the extent of musicianship achieved (with only three members) than black metal. Vocals are never a focal point, the tracks on the album feature a lot of cello playing and ambient effects are used to create a compelling, chilled, atmosphere – a strange blend yes, but effective to say the least.
This is a fascinating listen from start to finish but it was the ambient, atmospheric sections and tracks that captivated me the most. “Wind in the Wells” is one such track, simple acoustic guitar and chilled drumming accompanied by synth and sound effects sweep away the stress and strain for its duration which at only three minutes is a little too short. “Time is a face in the sky” is another moment of brilliance which features some inspired cello playing and creative guitar work.
Album closer Tao is a stunning instrumental track beautifully crafted using simple guitar playing, ambient sound effects and basic synths to help create six minutes of pure atmospheric quality. As with much of this release vocals are not missed in the slightest due to the standard of music, and to be honest I think vocals would have detracted from the sheer brilliance of the track.
There’s nothing overly flamboyant or complicated about this band but that’s what part of the appeal is for me, you don’t have to be playing a hundred miles an hour or firing up the blastbeats to make exceptional music and Finnr’s Cane prove that beyond any shadow of a doubt. No instrument dominates and the musical worlds created by just three people are astounding. The sound effects are well placed and intriguing and the slave’s cello playing is an excellent complement to the music. Many may baulk at the thought of a cello replacing a traditional bass guitar but for Finnr’s Cane it was a bold yet excellent decision – it’s more prominent here than on “Wanderlust,” another excellent progression of their sound since their debut.
Refreshing, relaxed, and very, very good, give your ears a break and take forty minutes to absorb Finnr’s Cane’s magnificent, otherworld musical landscapes, you’ll find it well worth the trip.
1. This Old Oak
2. Gallery of Sun and Stars
3. A Promise In Bare Branches
4. Wind in the Wells
5. A Great Storm
6. Time is a Face in the Sky
A Portrait Painted by the Sun is available now from Prophecy Productions.