|Review: Cain's Offering - Gather the Faithful|
|Gather the Faithful|
Label: Avalon/Marquee Inñ
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: August 25, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
for:Gather the Faithful
Rated 3.22/5 (64.35%) (92 Votes)
I really wasn't expecting this, and I mean really. In my time writing here at The Metal Crypt so far (note this applies to 2008/9 releases) I've yet to have an album that made me feel like this. We're talking the same feeling I had with such greats as A Flame to the Ground Beneath and Andromeda Unchained. This is the stuff I live for and main reason I contribute. For all the sub-par releases I might have to endure, albums such as this make it all worthwhile. Hell, my initial reaction was quite embarrassing much like that Nintendo 64 kid (you have to have seen that video.) I was dumbfounded by what I was hearing here, a couple of tracks in and it was all too much so I left for a smoke and deciphered in my head just exactly what I'd heard. For crying out loud this is Jani Liimatainen, Timo Kotipelto and Mikko Harkin, for a Power Metal fan this is such a dream team. In the past I always imagined Sonata Arctica with Kotipelto's vocals – nothing against Tony Kakko (the guy's fantastic) – it was just one of those childish Power Metal fantasies. Well fantasy no longer because this is the real deal, imagine a beautiful blend of Silence and Unia with Timo Kotipelto and you wouldn't be too far off what you're going to hear on Gather the Faithful. Only this is dare I say it better.
We all knew Jani had it in him – as far as the Power Metal scene goes, he's one of the best players, and "My Selene" still stands as a favorite Sonata Arctica song of mine. Actually there are certainly a few parts on Gather the Faithful that remind me of "My Selene". It's great to hear Jani let loose without the constraints of Tony Kakko holding him back, and believe me he more than proves his worth. In all honesty this seems like everything Sonata Arctica should have been, although now they've become a vehicle for Tony Kakko (seriously nothing against the guy; I have the utmost respect for his music and as we all know a massive fan). Kotipelto sounds absolutely fantastic here, quite different to what we're used to with Stratovarius. although hard to explain. I guess in Stratovarius he pushes himself to reach nigh on glass shattering highs (pre-Polaris) whereas with Cain's Offering he just lets his voice soar and it works unbelievably well. Let's not forget we have Mikko Harkin and Jani Liimatainen back together again, seriously this is beyond awesome – just listen to the mid-section in "My Queen of Winter" and that's all the evidence you need to hear.
From the starting line I was sold; any Finnish Power Metal fan need just take one listen to "My Queen of Winter" and I assure you will be hooked. This is beautiful with Jani's characteristic guitar work and Mikko Harkin's stunning use of keyboards, evoking the winter-like feel I always felt listening to Ecliptica – and that chorus, simply stunning. "More Than Friends" features a brilliant release and certainly has a recent Sonata Arctica feel to it although the bass and drums verse is very Stratovarius. It becomes all too noticeable how strong the arrangements are here, each verse and chorus meticulously crafted to a phenomenal sound. "Oceans of Regret" is incredible, again brilliant chorus; this song is my personal favorite – words simply can't do it justice. For crying out loud even the ballad and instrumental are amazing here – there's not one bad track! "Stolen Waters" is another favorite of mine featuring astounding guitar parts that continue to blow my mind. There's actually not one bad point I can put towards this release.
Overall Cain's Offering hit the fucking nail on the head, delivering the finest Power Metal album of 2009 so far. Gather the Faithful is a real hot contender for album of the year standing proud (and maybe just that little bit taller) alongside Stratovarius' Polaris and Anubis Gate's The Detached. The gauntlets have been laid down and I'm real excited to see what Sonata Arctica come up with in just under a month's time. Jani is proving to be some damn strong competition here although I'm sure Tony and the boys will provide some stiff competition as well. If you're a Power Metal fan, you need this yesterday. If you were to buy only one album this year, make sure you buy Gather the Faithful – I guarantee you won't regret it.
|Other related information on the site|
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