Review: Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow

What is there to say about Cain’s Offering?  It boasts one of the best guitarists in Finland, one of the greatest keyboardists in all of Europe, and legendary vocalist, Timo Kotipelto.  It also released a strong debut, “Gather The Faithful” (hereafter “GTF”) that had this writer chomping at the bit for more.  I had to wait 6 years for the follow-up, but it was worth the wait.

‘Stormcrow’ opens the album with explosive energy, strong melodies and an addictive chorus. Upon first listen, I found myself thinking that if the rest of the album is this good, it will definitely be on par with anything in the sub-genre.

‘The Best of Times’ begins with a synthesizer sound that strongly reminds me of Rammstein; however, as the song progresses, it sounds more and more like a “GTF” type of composition.  The chorus itself is excellent and is one of the catchiest of the album.

‘A Night to Forget’ is a slow rocker that continues what I initially thought was a speed-wise downward trend into ballad territory.  I was quite wrong as ‘I Will Build You a Rome,’ a song that in speed, melody and spirit, is reminiscent of early Sonata Arctica.  I consider it the best song of the album, and it was an excellent choice for a single, as I feel it embodies everything that is best about Stormcrow.

‘Too Tired To Run’ slows the album down and turns out to be a very good ballad that gets better as the song goes on.  When it finally picks up around the 3:20 mark the song fares into a powerful territory that pulls you into the song even more.

‘Constellation of Tears’ is yet another power metal song in the Finnish style, with an overdose of hypersonic, double-bass drumming.  While not as catchy as the single, it certainly makes up for that in energy and passion.

‘Antemortem’ is hard not to consider a complete oddball.  It reminds me of a power-metalized version of any random, current Nightwish song, complete with ultra-bombastic orchestrations over Emppu-like chugga chugga-like guitars.  The chorus of the song is actually fantastic, but it’s impossible to gloss over the fact that it seems slightly out of place.  That being said, it is still a very good song.

‘My Heart Beats for No One’ is gold and strongly reminds me of something that could have, or maybe should have, been on “GTF”.  On the whole, “Stormcrow” is different from its predecessor, with most songs sounding like cousins and some like distant relatives.  This one, however, is more like a fraternal twin to the songs on “GTF”, and had me wondering if it was actually something leftover from those writing sessions.

‘I Am Legion’ is an instrumental masterpiece that starts off with a gentle string section, and when it picks up takes you to a very relaxing, ethereal place.  It has a Pirates of the Caribbean vibe at one point and then ebbs and flows from start to finish, going from slow to fast to mid-tempo a number of times.

‘Rising Sun’ is another melodic power metal song with the very spirit of Finland oozing out of every note.  There is so much to like about this song, apart from the beautiful main melody.  The verses are a bit heavier on bass guitar, which really adds to the atmosphere, and the solos, as one might expect, are breakneck speed.

Finally, the album closes with ‘On the Shore,’ a slower track that comes off more as a hard rock song.  The song itself is excellent, has a strong chorus and a vibe that is somewhat similar to  ‘A Night to Forget.’

By the end of the album, it may not be so apparent, but there is a good amount of variety on “Stormcrow”.  There are also more choirs, more orchestrations and there does seem to be a bit more emphasis on guitar-keyboard interaction.  In short, Cain’s Offering has offered up (no pun intended) an album that is equally as good as anything that ever came out of the glory era of Finnish power metal.   It is highly recommended to anyone that misses the old school days when Finland seemed to be churning out one power metal masterpiece after another.  10/10

 

You read about the album, now get a little taste of what we’re talking about!

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