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Cairn
Raise the Cairn

Company: Independent
Release: 2011
Genre: Heavy, black, pagan
Reviewer: Ravana

  • Thoughtful, polished, and thoroughly enjoyable



  • Debut releases from independent, solo artists are generally hit or miss; many, showing some small glimmers of promise, inevitably fail to deliver completely due to poor production, lack of originality, or other factors associated with inexperience. Luckily for us, Chicago-based musician Samu Rahn's songwriting ability and broad, creative vision have allowed him to produce a top-notch debut EP. "Raise the Cairn" is, with few exceptions, thoughtful, polished, and thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.

    Although "Raise the Cairn" is a five-track EP, it essentially consists of three main tracks plus two acoustic interludes. Overall, the songs have a blackened, pagan feel to them; although it is often difficult to place certain bands within a subgenre, Cairn are definitely in the same general neighborhood as acts like Primordial, Enslaved, and Agalloch. Rahn seamlessly blends raw, crushing (and at times, very complex) riffage with subtly underlying folk melodies and motifs as effectively as any of the aforementioned veteran bands.

    "Magnapinna Rex" parts I and II account for two of the three principal songs on "Raise the Cairn", and these two tracks are the EP's primary driving force when it comes to infusing and expressing the musical and emotional elements that Rahn has designed to share with us. The lead guitar work is very melodic, yet not catchy. Guest Mike Gleason handles the majority of the vocals here, delivering a forceful mid-to-high register growl; with pipes like that this individual should rightfully be fronting a famous, world-class extreme metal band.

    "Crush Depth", the EP's final track, goes for a doomier, sludgier sound, and here Rahn's lower growls are at the forefront. While this song lacks the melody of the previous two, it has an identity of its own; indeed, "crushing" is by far the best adjective to describe the sheer power of "Crush Depth". Here Cairn channel Swallow the Sun more so than Enslaved; Rahn's success with this track juxtaposed against the other two speak to his diverse songwriting ability. "Raise the Cairn" is sure to please almost every extreme metal fan with an open mind.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: CAIRN
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Raise the CairnCairn
    2011
    Ravana10/25/2011


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