Finnr’s Cane – A Portrait Painted by the Sun (Prophecy Productions)Friday, 11th October 2013
1. Sit, lean, or fall heavily and limply, esp. with a bent back.
Ontario’s atmospheric black metal doomsters, Finner’s Cane, return with their sophomore album in A Portrait Painted by the Sun. Based on our review of the (band showing potential to have potential) debut here , if the phrase “sophomore slump” can be applied, then perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch. Normally this would indicate a precipitous drop in quality from the debut release (and would imply that the debut was something of high caliber to begin with). In this case, these Canadians simply took their music from “eh” to “meh.”
Where Finnr’s Cane have a unique position in the black metal world is in their lineup. The drummer and guitarist/singer are not joined by a bassist, but by a cello/keyboard player who goes by the name “The Slave.” Now, to be fair to The Slave, her band mates also have such literary names as “The Peasant” and “The Bard” to keep her in good company. While cello can be a great addition to music of the melancholic persuasion, in the case of A Portrait Painted by the Sun, a bass guitar might have served them better in the end. The sparse nature of the songs highlights some of the more negative qualities of the music. Seemingly out-of-tune passages and clunky drumming stand out without much of a backbone behind the music.
APPbtS starts off with notes of Agalloch and maybe Fen, conjuring pleasant and slow-tempo nature-tinged black metal. On “Gallery of Sun and Stars,” things evolve into some decent depressive black metal before showing the band’s range with a dynamic acoustic shift, prior to the most furious, however brief, bit of the album. The wheels really fall off of this release in the middle, with the song “Wind in the Wells.” This barely interesting album then grinds to a crawl and never gets up. An album that compels you to stand at attention, this is certainly not. It’s more of a sitter – and as the album wears on, more of a slumper.