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Spellbinding melodic excellence. - 92%

Empyreal, August 14th, 2009

Where the hell did this come from? I've played Gather the Faithful a bunch of times so far, and it just keeps on delivering. Cain's Offering is a Power Metal project starring members of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius, and if you’re like me, you think this is a really good idea and that it could produce nothing but excellent melodic metal…you’d be right.

The music on here is, as you’d guess, knowing it was made by a band that contained the guitarist and the keyboardist of Sonata Arctica, heavily influenced by those Finnish melodic masters. What’s more, Timo Koltipelto is also on this album, adding his sugary sweet finesse to every song on this album. The drummer is from Thyrane and the bassist from Norther and Wintersun, so you can say this is an All Stars project. That doesn’t mean much, though, except that this is very professional and captivating music from a bunch of the genre’s pros.

Songwriting-wise, it’s sort of like Sonata’s last release Unia, except more focused on individual songs as opposed to the whole album, and it's a lot lighter and more traditionally melodic. It’s what Unia would have been, if not for the twisted artistic visions of Sonata’s Tony Kakko. The attention to detail here, as on Unia, is just phenomenal, with every song packing a lot of subtle melody and intricate hook sensibility. It’s catchy and certainly very poppy, but there's more to it than you'd think. The rhythms are simple, but they do change ever so subtly, again, just like on the Sonata Arctica album. Koltipelto gives a truly astounding performance here, utilizing a more calculated midrange than he does in Stratovarius, giving careful attention to every last line he sings. The melodies themselves are frosty, fresh and invigorated, with Koltipelto leading them with a true dramatic flair. Sometimes the songs on here aren’t even so much songs as they are miniature story-plays, acted out by the professionals of the Power Metal genre. Spellbinding.

This album just flows excellently, which is perhaps its best selling point. It’s melodic, it’s dashing and it keeps you hooked. The choruses are catchy, but the verses are also sublime, carried out with melodic intensity and sterling power. Everything is polished to a tee, streamlined but still containing a lot of integrity, just waiting for you to discover its charms. With standouts like "My Queen of Winter," "Oceans of Regret," the wistful "Into the Blue" and the speedy "Dawn of Solace," as well as a number of other great tunes, Gather the Faithful is not something Power Metal fans should pass up.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com