Crash Records' reissue of the 2001 debut CD from Finland's Cadacross will remind listeners instantly of Children of Bodom, as these guys also combine speedy power metal with neo-classical guitar and keyboard work, along with aggressive back metal styled vocals. There is a very orchestral flavor to the entire album, which seems to be the norm amongst Finnish metal the last few years, and this characteristic gives So Pale is the Light a strong classical feel throughout.
Sweeping keyboards meet tricky guitar riffs on the mesmerizing title track, and Mathias D.G. Nygard takes his arsenal of synths one step further on "Battle of North", a Viking inspired neo-classical metal fest with blazing turns by Nygard as well as guitarists Georg Laakso and Tommi Saari, who deliver complex riff after complex riff. The intricate and melodic "Might of Sword" is a fun piece, although perhaps a tad too derivative of Children of Bodom, but does contain some killer guitar and piano work. The band cranks out an impressive epic called "Turmion Taival", a real symphonic slice of black metal littered with keyboard orchestrations and the gravelly vocals of Laakso. Which brings me to this albums one downfall. Georg Laakso really should stick to the guitar-he's no Alexi Laiho from CoB, whose vocal delivery is powerful and effective. Laakso tries very hard to duplicate Laiho's black metal rasp, but fails more often than not. It also doesn't help that his vocals are all but buried in the mix of what is otherwise a fine sounding album. Not only is he far back in the mix and drowned out, but his vocals have no clarity and just come across as unintelligible raspy annoyances. It's a shame, because the music here is exceptional. The band would get a full-time singer on their subsequent release Corona Borealis , which is probably a good thing, although I have not heard that album.
Still, there's plenty to recommend here, and the excellent instrumental passages and arrangements here more than make up the majority of the album and help to give this two thumbs up. Definitely worth seeking out for fans of neo-classical power metal and symphonic black metal.
1) At The Heart Of Night
3) So Pale Is The Light
4) Battle Of North
5) Might Of Sword
6) Dawn Breaks Behind My Eyes
7) Turmion Taival