You are brought into a world. A world that is surrounded in shadow and echoing with primal noise. Something is calling you from a spiritual cave, the voices echo and cut. Canaan are summoning you.
The album Contro.Luce is both named and unnamed. The opening track ‘Calma’ is revolutionary, awakening something dark and soulful in lush Italian vocals. You already know that this album is far different from most metal ambient releases. Yes, Doom is something of a specialty to these experimental and dark orchestrators. But this is not Doom as I have known it. Never in my mind did I picture throwing myself off a building because our society is just that crap a place. This album made me feel that the world was in desperate need of a cult of my design, which could heal that darkness and speak the truths that no one could say.
Of course I can’t speak Italian. So my analysis could have all the validity of Katie Price translating the Rosetta Stone. However I know how these tracks made me feel. I was in an industrial limbo, experiencing both a cool and shadowy ambience whilst overwhelmed by waves of spiritual chaos. It was like listening to a Chaucerian murder mystery. I didn’t know whodunit but listening to the archaic and cryptic clues made for an intriguing suspense story.
Yet (and you knew there was going to be a “yet”), this is a great leap from Canaan’s usual fair. Evolution is good for a band, vital even. Nevertheless I find that Canaan changed their identity, the formula for which their odd and classical mix of metal achieved results. Please don’t think me ethnocentric, my frown was not borne of a lack of English in it’s gothic content. There is genuinely a change of heart to the work, a sacrilegious upheaval. The change wasn’t dramatic enough to remove them from their original musical sphere. The Unsaid Words, their album from 2006 was all shadow, doom and destruction. A Calling To Weakness 2002, contains prayers of tragedy and continuous disappointment in the human condition (delicious). Basically this band has delighted in darkening our days. However the new album has a different taste, one of operatic disdain blended with hopeful, internationally understood romanticism.
Therefore the change, though maybe unwanted by die hard fans, is welcomed by me. I actually delight (a word hardly ever used when considering dark ambient metal) in exploring these assorted and technologically disheartened tracks. Like entering a monastery from a 1970’s horror film, all smiles at first until you wake up married to Odin and trapped in the coming of Ragnorak.
Always saying that they formed due to the break up of Ras Algethi, the only other Doom metal band from Italy, Canaan have been patriotic metal mongerers. They wished to place Italy on the Gothic map. Through their previous album incarnations they have mostly succeeded. But Contro.Luce is a cultural re-awakening, where Canaan embraces their Italian character and amplify it till the very gods shake in their wee omnipotent booties.
(Eibon Records, 12th Jan 2011)