Whilst the initial blaze of the Djent movement may have extinguished, it is clear today that the embers are still burning. The likes of TesseracT, Skyharbor and Uneven Structure may have distanced themselves somewhat from that original sound but are still strong and creative forces, whilst the likes of Monuments are still embracing that core style and firmly delivering.
French Progressive Metallers Kadinja may not have reached the heights of many of their peers but have been a solid and respected force in the Djent community, with their debut album Ascendency (Klonosphere/Season of Mist) being very well received. Unsurprisingly the band have motioned an evolutionary phase on the follow-up, but some may be pleased to know that, whilst there is a clear development on Super 90’ (Arising Empire), it isn’t an extreme change of direction by any stretch.
On initial plays in fact, Super 90’ sounds like a firm continuation of their sound, albeit a very enjoyable one. That instantly recognisable Djent guitar tone and riff style is an ever-present throughout, with song structures that balance succinctness with some complexity. At first glance, it may appear to be an album that does very little in the way of reinvention, but it is executed well.
Digging further with repeated listens reveals subtle but clear innovation in their own formula, however. Embracing their love for nineties music, the biggest point to note is how they meld the heavy side of their sound with a heightened measure of atmosphere and ambience, at times feeling very reminiscent to the dynamic of Deftones. Meanwhile, Philippe Carney’s vocal delivery recalls the fluid styles of Chino Moreno, and at times that unhinged vibe of Jonathan Davies.
It is on closing track ‘Avec Tout Mon Amour’ where Kadinja truly hit a new creative stride with an airy, post-Rock serenity winding around crunchy guitar hooks, broadening and opening throughout, in a way that feels starkly different from the rest of the album, whilst showing broader horizons for the band.
Djent is often criticised for a copycat mentality and a lack of innovation, but whilst many innovators have moved on to new sounds, even the supposedly more rigid acts indulge in experimentation, subtle or otherwise, and Kadinja are a prime case of this. Their small degrees of change won’t leave behind their current fanbase, whilst still clearly widening their scope and song-writing prowess.
7 / 10