The “new” Kaine launched in 2016
So at the start of 2016, having already started work on songs such as Voice in Hell, Afterlife & Fall of Jericho, we returned to being a four-piece comprising of myself, now the sole original member on guitar and vocals, Chris MacKinnon, the only other guy to survive past The Waystone on drums and now sharing vocal duties taking over from Dan, Saxon Davids on lead guitar having joined us in 2014 and appeared on the Justice Injustice single and new boy Stephen Ellis on bass guitar.
As mentioned in my previous blog, the old band had essentially split up following Ant’s departure, my girlfriend had just left me and we had a month off gigging to work on new material, and that we did, we worked bloody hard. In addition to getting Fall of Jericho and Afterlife ready to be played and tested in a live setting, we also started playing a song Saxon wrote called Heavens Abandonment and one of my new songs, The Preacher Eyes around this time also, ready for our big return show at the Soundhouse, Colchester on the 5th of February. We were able to work on those songs and get them into the set in time for the show.
Kaine at the Soundhouse
The show itself was a fun one, we had Daemona (Dan Mailer’s new band), Kill The Freak (featuring the soon to be famous Conor Ridd, of Freak fame, whose success would dwarf everyone else’s form the Underground music scene) and Myopic Empire (featuring two-time Kaine live drummer James Balcombe) on the bill which was a nice way to get back into playing live, with friends and adjust to being a four-piece again. The night went relatively well, we had a decent turnout and all the bands played great. We took to the stage and had a rough set by our standards, Chris played one of the new songs too fast so we turned that into a jam, we invited Dan up on stage to do Solidarity with us, in which I managed to break a string and had to quickly adapt the song to being a string down and I just sang lead vocals for the last song. It was a bumpy restart to Kaine, but we were on our way.
After that, we played a couple of shows that weren’t that great in terms of attendance but at that time this was good for us as we were finding our feet again. Over the next few months, we continued working on material, adding in a song that Stevo and Saxon came up with called A Night Meets Death into the set while reworking and tightening up the other new songs we had. We even played Wales for the first time, at a place called The Patriot in Crumlin.
Writing the album in 2016
We survived mostly on our two residencies, one at The Soundhouse in Colchester and the Rock Den in Hatfield alongside our regular gigs at Asylum in Chelmsford. We were able to rebuild the reputation of the band at these gigs and show people that we were alive and well despite the line-up changes. People were also starting to recognise the difference in the band’s sound coming from the new material and people were really enjoying the new material.
Outside of those residencies, we were still playing all over, however, there were a few stinkers up and down the road still. Our first gig in Bolton at the Alma was pretty fun, we took a pilgrimage to the Fred Dibnah statue, a legendary British steeplejack, engineer and Victorian historian from the town, and it was our first time meeting Twisted Illusion, a band we would go on to become friends with, so much so, Stevo ended up playing bass on their album Insight to the Mind of a Million Faces, which would see them featured in Classic Rock magazine and at Bloodstock festival in the UK.
Bolton is a bit of an odd place in that, not only was the fish shop too posh for us to eat in, it had Butlers, but there was a shop that only sold settees and phone cases. I still don’t understand that.
Saxon and the Tour Van
We also had in the works our first standalone tour, in Scotland. We had first played Scotland back in 2014 on both the Renegades tour and Mordred’s Britain and Ireland tour, we were then subsequently booked to play Wildfire Festival in 2015, and our performance at that show had been so strong we had been nominated for an award for it, and thus had built up a following in Scotland. Being plagued with messages and e-mails asking for our return, we decided we would head up for a three-date tour to test the waters. We would hit Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh over a weekend. Vauxhall were kind enough to endorse our tour and given us the van for free. Alex Smith also joined us as tour manager and roadie. The tour was a success in some ways, we had a decent turnout all three nights and a lot of fun but also lost money due to the promotional side of things, but we hadn’t run it as a money-making exercise, just to see if we could tour alone and draw an audience.
Alex, selling our merch on the Scotland Tour
One night the guys got pissed up in Dave Ritchie’s house (he runs Wildfire and kindly allowed us to stay). Stevo got to the point where he couldn’t walk so I had to physically pick him up and carry him to bed and Alex managed to keep me up snoring anyway, it even woke Chris up who lobbed his shoes at him to no avail.
Live in Scotland 2016
The next night we played in Edinburgh, the guys feeling like crap from the drink and lack of sleep. I don’t drink, but suffered as a consequence of them keeping me up all night. We played Bannermans next, which is a great little venue. We were lucky enough to be able to stay in the flat upstairs, however, Matt Denny (Mordred’s UK Tour manager, who had come to see us) had pointed out it was haunted. Chris then didn’t sleep all night, and instead stayed awake in a paranoid state. I slept fine, which was surprising as I shared the same room as Alex who normally snores like a freight train at the best of times. Chris, being one of the drivers along with Stevo then had to drive home in a tired state.
We released a recording of a set from one of our August shows at the Soundhouse, which was recorded accidently by Myopic Empire for free download on the 12th of that same month which can be downloaded from here.
This would turn out to be our last ever show at the venue, we did have one further date as part of our residency but the new venue owners, after complaining about us taking a share of the bar fee to pay for promotional costs, cancelled our November date without informing us. They later claimed to others they didn’t know about the date, despite talking about it with us on the night while they advised us they wouldn’t be offering a bar split in future, to which we informed them that we wouldnt be paying for promotion out of our own pocket. It’s their loss ultimately as our shows there were always well attended and the venue did make money on those nights. This is typical of the short sightedness of a lot of venue owners, many of which will spend nothing on promotion, complain about paying bands and be equally upset when turnout is poor.
After our set at Mearfest 2016
The next big gig we did in 2016 was Mearfest at the Borderline in London. The turnout was incredible and the bands were great. Mearfest is a charity New Wave of British Heavy Metal festival, which raises money for good causes run by Brian and Claire Mear. They had sadly lost their daughter Molly, who had been born stillborn and the event was in aid of a stillbirth clinic that provides support for parents who have gone through such a traumatic experience. They very much view it as turning a tragedy into a positive and it was an honour to support that event. A year later Claire would give birth to her daughter Amelie.
Throughout the year we would introduce yet more songs into the set, after writing, rehearsing, and working them intensely. They would be songs such as Alone and A Crisis of Faith which I had written, Frailty of the Blade, one of Stevo’s songs which was originally a song called Stephens song about rape culture by a band called Drop Dead Fred that Chris and Stevo had played in, which we reworked into a Kaine song and finally The Mind is Willing, another song by Chris and the first tone he performed lead vocals on. Another song was written by Stevo around this time called Consigned To Flames of Woe, which didn’t wind up on this album and he also wrote an intro piece for Heaven’s Abandonment.
We would continue to change and adapt the songs live, both musically and lyrically to further improve them, which is why we were playing the material before the album was out. It’s how Black Sabbath wrote a lot of their early material, and how Iron Maiden did most of their first two albums and it was clearly something we also greatly benefitted from.
Later in the year we had a few more great shows up and down the country, we headlined a packed out Portland Arms in Cambridge, which I think was the first show we ever played Alone at, where the audience was absolutely mental and mosh pits galore.
In November we were made aware that the Asylum venue in Chelmsford needed to raise around £12k very quickly to remain open. The Asylum, being the best place to play as a Metal band in Chelmsford, and a cause close to us in the band is very important to us. We decided we would write and record a song to help raise money for the venue, which became Holding The Line, one Sunday I wrote the majority of the music and the lyrics, we rehearsed it on the Thursday and then recorded it live on Sunday the 20th of November. We were kindly offered the studio time free of charge by Ade Hare (Producer Falling Through Freedom & Justice Injustice) at Threecircles to help support the venue, who recorded and mixed the track and Z-Plane (mastering on The Waystone, Justice Injustice and Falling Through Freedom) mastered the track, also for free. Over 200 copies of the single were sold, with every penny going to the venue.
We rounded off the year back in Ipswich at the Swan, again a packed show where the audience was absolutely fantastic. I hope you have enjoyed the part two on how A Crisis of Faith came into existence and I will try and write part three at a later point.
Love, as ever…. Rage