One is left behind
This is who we are
This is where we stand
Strangers in the night
Our wounds open wide
Know that when you're gone
My heart beats for no one"
One Word Review: Cuddly
I have high affection for the first Cain's Offering offering, Gather The Faithful, which was released back in 2009. It had a unique atmosphere fused into its most excellent melodic power metal core, and add to that, what I found to be Kotipelto's finest vocal performance ever and you had an album that stood out.
I greeted the email I got about a promo of Stormcrow being available with ecstatic enthusiasm and complete surprise, since I had no idea the band was still alive. Happily, I can report that this second album improves upon its predecessor in pretty much every way, with more drama and better consistency.
Fortunately, the unique atmosphere which drew me to the debut, is carried through here, and explored further. The personal lyrics, laced with self-doubt, possess a deep sense of melancholy and fully bloom when Timo Kotipelto, of Stratovarius fame, belts them out with an impressive amount of passion. Passion is really what makes the music work, as it is all-embracing and completely convincing. I find that the whole album emits a radiance of melancholy, deep and soulful.
The title track opens the album with flashbacks to the debut. The first time I heard the keyboard sound, I was one big smile. Rising from the ashes indeed. The song is captivating in that it sums up the album in its lyrics, while musically it just thunders over the listener with dramatic keys, manic drumming, tight riffs, soaring vocals and a massive, yet lush production. Notice the high pitch scream near the end. Just beautiful.
Best of times took a little time to evolve as it grew in my mind from an impression of barely ok into a melodic masterpiece and one of my favorites of the album. The song slowly grows through some hectic changes and blooms fully during its fantastic chorus. Also notice the way the keyboard adds a final flourish before the chorus begins, working as a perfect welcome by adding a sweet increase in intensity.
I Will Build You A Rome is the most brilliantly catchy song of the album, a melodic monster of a song that brings forth a powerful feeling of optimism and when the chorus arrives, a fist clenching power metal chill. As the song goes through its second verse, excellent guitar riffing adds to the momentum and building from there, a bridge section provides the final push over the edge, as the song soars into a sublime chorus. It is an instant addition to my favorite songs playlist and one of those songs, I can imagine being a hit in any party situation.
The album continues with a strong mix of power ballads and all-out metal attacks, all beautifully sung, beautifully played and all wrapped in that special atmosphere, essentially coming down to four words: Soul, Power, Melody, Melancholy.
There are moments when the exultant feeling I get, while listening to some songs is diminished but throughout the album, there are enough highlights to make my overall impression one that is better than the debut and beyond superb. This is one of the rare albums that I enjoy on several levels because the lyrics go hand in hand with the music and together exhibit a certain amount of soul. That makes the album experience unforgettable. The fact that I have only known the album for a few weeks bodes well for its future, as I am clearly hooked.
Now, I am only looking forward to getting hold of the real album on CD, so I can enjoy it with the best possible sound and actually read the lyrics. I really hope the band is able to put up a tour of some kind. I will do whatever I can to be there, right in the front row, possibly moo'ing loudly with delight (sorry, don't know where that came from).
On a side note, I got the feeling that main songwriter Jani Liimatainen is a Savatage fan, while listening to the impressive movie-soundtrack instrumental I Am Legion. Think "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)".
Final note: Listen Loud.
Favorite songs: I Will Build You A Rome, Too Tired To Run, Best Of Times, Stormcrow, My Heart Beats For No One, On The Shore
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, May 7, 2015
The Best Of Times
I Will Build You A Rome
Friday, May 8, 2015 - pablo