The RMR deck crew likes tunes that kind of fall off the mighty freight train of the vile mainstream. Stuff that we somehow cannot classify, or would otherwise ignore. These are the things that all of a sudden haunt this office suite and won’t let go.
Or then again, things that dwell somewhere in the twilight zone of the metal multiverse. Those bands whelping records that you know are good, but you are not quite sure why.
Mainly because their tune is so way off the beaten path that there’s a disconcerting confusion about where this all will end up. Much to the discomfort of the normal metalhead who likes to classify everything into genres – and yet more genres.
The Canadians from Red Cain will be a jolly good candidate for that very special medal of honors. Their somewhat funky and very energetic style already got on our good side in 2016, when their self-titled EP released.
But Kindred: Act I will top their spot, that’s for sure.
You’ll get this funky mix of Progressive Metal and Power Metal, stirred with some Heavy Rock on a bed of alternative delights that are still raw and unrefined. All of that dunked into a distinct industrial flavor that is difficult to shake. Then Red Cain lace parts of their tunes with this Russian tinge, with faux radio bursts and cleverly set, scratchy Slavic interludes.
So, in a way, you’ll get a rough-hewn and kind of unfiltered taste of a Power Metal brand that Kamelot never quite got to. With a sometimes eerie resemblance to crimes, Haken committed lately. But – in truth – you’ll find some of that only in the first half, and a very demonic rendition at that.
Then take some of Hanzel und Gretyl‘s idea of NDA (Neue Deutsche Härte), toss well and ready is this metal fruit salad. And all that at a same or higher level of complexity than the aforementioned bunch of outfits combined.
Interestingly, Kindred: Act I is not bad once it leaves pole position.
But the record doesn’t really take off with any real power until about mid-point. Yet as of ZERO nothing holds these guys back anymore. Even the somewhat ballad-ish Blood & Gold won’t make a dent in this impression. In fact, the vocalist belts out these slow-motion lyrics in some sort of low-down aggression that may only be bested by Lzzy Hale and her (not so) hidden fury.
I am gonna forever love the disconcerting track Juliet. This angry rendition of a harassed and bothered Tommy Karevik of Kamelot really gets the best of me. And for sure Evgeniy Zayarny‘s drawl tearing this name apart like it’s some sort of endless horror-movie chewing gum is unbeatable. Love it.
But the icing on the cake and the proverbial cherry all in one really hides in Wing of the Crow, the last track. That’s the song with Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus) as the ice-queen or something. On steroids, and with a stellar and very Power Metal opening that blew my mind a few times.
But once you convince yourself that all that cheesy goodness will descend into the usual synthie heaven, Red Cain counter this with some real metal crunch. And defy norms yet again. No peace for the traditional Power Metal adept. But this is really what the real essence of Kindred: Act I is really about.
Yet, at times, the mix is a bit too disheveled for its own good. To the point that this endless assault of sound bytes risks to overwhelm the listener after a while. There is always a good balance between the goof currently on today’s hit lists and what the avid metal songwriter thinks he can squeeze out of modern technological advances. In other words, a bit of restraint in the use of the mighty mixing board might have been better at times.
To wrap this up, Kindred: Act I is all about raw and unbridled metal power. A thoughtful brand of metal that – for once – does not base itself on mindless growling about the stage along normal lines of metal conduct. Instead, they rip the established status quo to pieces and attack with a very unusual metal dish. One that comes with a distinct groove to boot.
In a way, Red Cain managed to slam that proverbial square peg into a round hole. This band just rearranged the meaning of Progressive Metal in a way that the RMR deck crew never thought possible.
True, their style is complex and difficult to stomach, like some Habanero infected food dish. But here you get a very tasty fusion of Progressive and Power Metal that we have rarely seen to date.
A metal dish best consumed red-hot. Have some, you will not regret it.