I’ve never understood super groups. I mean, of course I understand the coming together of a group of fantastic musicians to form a great, new whole, but surely that’s what all bands are? Insisting that your group is superior (and what else does the word “super” insist?) simply because you’re all already successful seems a little big smug, especially if you consider just how few of them are any bloody good.
This is one of the many things Cain’s Offering do differently. A simple merging of Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius fame and Jani Liimatainen of Sonata Arctica, they’re what often gets labelled Euro power metal, though the association with power metallers Europe doesn’t exactly do them justice. Theirs is a grand type of power metal, with big sweeping solos and Timo’s operatic stylings coming together for an immediately enjoyable triumphant score. While 2009’s Gather the Faithful had something of melancholic undertone, this is purely celebratory, a big dumb celebration anything and everything, with some gratuitous soloing to give it a little thunder.
“I will build you a Rome” is one of my favorites, partially because it’s so ludicrously pompous it would suit a crown of peacock feathers, and partially because of how stupid an idea it must have seemed during its inception.
“Wait, so it’s just a love song, but with “Rome” instead of “home”?”
“But won’t that get really annoying when everyone keeps thinking they’ve misheard?”
“No. Don’t ask me why, I just have this feeling it’ll be entertaining every single time.”
And it is. Despite how dumb the lyric sheet must look, and how they sneak in the word “home” just enough to keep you guessing, somehow the way it’s slathered in high quality mozzarella makes it an energetic and exciting masterstroke rather than a pungent mess. It’s also one of my favorite on the album, the full-bodied energy of its intro immediately promising you enjoyment. This is the brilliance of Stormcrow. Everything they do is accompanied by such a gleeful lack of seriousness that you can’t help but like them. Which isn’t to say they’re a joke band, but that seriousness isn’t a major consideration.
Cain, within Christian mythology, is the brother of Abel and son of Adam (the first one) and inventor of murder, which he unfortunately couldn’t wait to try out on his unsuspecting sibling. For whatever reason he was then punished with eternal life. What Abel would have thought of this as a punishment notwithstanding, the mythos doesn’t have too much to say on his musical tastes, but I’m prepared to guess they’d be pretty eclectic, what with the whole of human history to pick from. So there’s a good chance he’d like Cain’s offering. I certainly do, and not only because “Stormcrow” is one of Gandalf’s more badass nicknames.
Released: May 15th 2015
Score: 8/9 Hammers