Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow
Release Date: May 19, 2015
If you were creating a roster for the greatest super group in the realm of power and melodic metal, who would you want in it? For me personally, I would love a little bit of Sonata Arctica and a little bit of Stratovarius. Add in some dashes of other great Finnish musicians, and I would be one happy power metal fan. Flash back to 2007, when Sonata Arctica announced that guitar player Jani Liimatainen was departing the band. Such an impressive guitarist and creative songwriter leaving one of my favorite bands was a heartbreak to say the least. However, in 2009, with the formation of Liimatainen’s super group Cain’s Offering, my hope returned. The band debuted with Gather the Faithful, entirely written by Liimatainen, to eager fans worldwide. Aside from the Finnish guitarist, the roster included vocalist Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) and drummer Jani Hurula, promising to deliver epic, high energy power metal to the masses – and they delivered.
Over the next five years, all members remained busy with their other projects but somehow managed to write a new Cain’s Offering album, Stormcrow. With the addition of bassist Jonas Kuhlberg and the legendary keyboard master Jens Johansson (Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen), the entire melodic and power metal world was buzzing in speculation. While some just considered Cain’s Offering to be a form of Sonata Arctica B-sides, Stormcrow really brings the project up to a new level, standing separately from than the reputation of the music Liimatainen was a part of eight years ago.
Kicking off the album is the title track, “Stormcrow”, which begins with a choral introduction that builds into the keyboard and riff driven opener. This is a very straightforward power metal song, with a strong and powerful chorus, although it is heavily produced. “A Night to Forget” was a surprising twist to the beginning of the album as it shows a more vulnerable side to the band. The rollercoaster of a song climbs through emotional troubles with a surprisingly catchy and dancing melody you’ll be singing all day.
In true Kotipelto style, the album slows down with “Too Tired to Run”, touching back on some troubling emotions in an absolutely gorgeous and stunning way. Very rarely can I say that ballads are one of my favorite tracks on the album, but between the powerful lyrics and great orchestrations, this song is flawless.
“Antemortem” is a driving yet darker track, with great keyboard and guitar work, breaking up a bit of the same-old-same of the album. Though the song lightens back up throughout the verses showcasing the vocal lines, it builds to a wonderfully strong and catchy chorus.
The album ends with “On the Shore”, which is another somewhat surprisingly emotionally strong ballad that I absolutely fell in love with. What starts as simple drumming and slow vocal patterns, builds to medium tempo, stunning orchestration, and equally powerful lyrics. This song pulls on the heartstrings and makes these Finnish legends seem oh so human, which doesn’t happen nearly enough in the metal world.
All in all, the album isn’t much of something we haven’t heard before, but it is a great addition to the discography of all members involved. The stars of the band are definitely highlighted through emphasized keyboard and guitar features while the drums and the bass are somewhat downplayed and generic, but it works well when combined. There are moments in the production that seem obviously modern and overproduced, similar to the newest Stratovarius album, but I feel that is how these intricate orchestrations truly shine. The hooks and melodies written by Liimatainen are like an addiction that I just can’t get enough of, so pour me another one! Cheers, Cain’s Offering!