I have an undying respect for artists who seek out new definitions of what it means to be ‘heavy’. Provided you broaden the definition beyond the rumbling of bass and distorted guitars, it could be defined as a given piece’s sonic or emotional weight. If music can take hold and drag you to whatever depths it wants, that can be considered as heavy as anything. Existing Canaan fans may be disappointed that there’s virtually no rock or metal at this point, but it’s to their credit they would approach their goals from a fresh route.
Canaan retain their brooding goth atmosphere, but the instrumental palette is entirely electronic, drawing from the nauseous industrial electropop tones that Nine Inch Nails might have used in slower songs. The sound itself is dark and occasionally uncomfortable, as is the case with a pitch-shifting thrum they incorporate as a technique. All of the songwriting, however, is conspicuously innocuous, verging on the realm of dark ambiance. No matter how ‘dark’ (another term tossed about a bit too loosely) the sounds get, the pace and evocative Italian vocals remain grounded in the gentle.
Canaan’s musical aesthetic comes across as a mish-mash of styles that don’t regularly mesh together. Il Giorno dei Campanelli (trans: Day of the Bells) gives a somewhat clashing impression that sounds heavy yet simultaneously downcast and reserved. If Canaan forged a new path for themselves here, it is disappointing that the music doesn’t leap out nor make nearly as much of a lasting impression as I’d hope to hear from an otherwise adventurous shift forward. Ironically, despite the thick electronic backing finding the band a fresh heaviness, I don’t feel the emotional weight of it the way I was hoping for.
I really wanted to like Il Giorno dei Campanelli. Canaan have a lot of interesting things going for them here, and the idea of throwing seemingly contradictory elements in the pot together is a bold move; unfortunately, it’s bolder than any of the music sounds. A lot of this has to do with the way Canaan have integrated (or failed to integrate) their vocals into the instrumentation. There’s rarely a feeling of synchronicity between what’s going on with the synths and the vocals, which often reminded me of the gentlest Italian progressive rock bands. The electronics are dark and brooding, but the vocals, if anything, feel warm and immediately inviting. Both on their own would work better than the two together. There’s a constant feeling that Canaan’s riding contradictions dull out their respective effects. This was a well-intended step forward by all means, and Canaan has an admirable grasp of their ingredients, at least individually. It’s not hard to imagine them restructuring their parts into a melange that works. As it’s currently standing however, I don’t feel convinced.
01) Canzone Per Il Nemico
02) Se Un Giorno
05) Un Mosaico In Bianco E Nero
06) Il Sogno Di Un’Anima
08) Resa Senza Condizioni
09) L’Assenza Di Pace
10) Soltanto Paura
11) Dentro La Scatola
12) Scegliendo Il Solco Sbagliato
13) La Lunga Strada
14) Due Specchi