With a former Sonata Arctica guitarist and a present Stratovarius vocalist it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how this might sound, and rest assure that the assumptions are correct. Cain's Offering is the project from Jani Liimatainen who parted ways with Sonata Arctica in 2007 after have being a member there since 1996 and apart from the obvious influence from his past band, the sound is also slightly broadened with a glance towards more traditional melodic hard rock.
The opening track My Queen Of Winter kicks in as comfortable traditional power metal with a fast pace while being very melodic, it feels like a mix between Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. Although, traces of melodic neo-classical metal is present as well and a sound that makes it not that hard to be reminded about Silent Force. And that latter reference could just as well also be made in More Than Friends that has a steady on-going rhythm while being melodic and powerful without anything really happening along the way. And there lies the problem with Cain's Offering; the inability to create any emotions from the listener as it all appears to be, although listenable for the moment, very comfortable music that seldom reaches through or sticks out in any way.
Other songs that bare the obvious influences just mentioned are Oceans Of Regret with a determined pace fast forward and merry melodies, but it lacks power and appears to feel rushed, although it takes on in the later half and is surely a Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius offspring. A song that do got a bit of bite is Thorn In My Side which is sounding Stratovarius to the fullest, and in the way we want then to sound. Definitely one of the better songs on the album and surely better than what Stratovarius is nowadays. But Dawn Of Solace wins the race for me, this wonderful power metal tune is exactly how I want it to be sounding when it comes from the land of the thousand lakes; fast and catchy and it makes me crank up the volume and press repeat.
Morpheus In Masquerade deserves to be mentioned as well since it features a bit of diversity reminding partly of Kamelot combined with nice melodies as those of Sonata Arctica, but just not as strong, although it is one of the strongest songs on this album in the sense of that it grows on you. Somehow, although there is unarguably a whole lot of classic Finnish power metal in the sound of Cain's Offering, I imagine that you can tell only by listening to this album that it is a release from Frontiers Records. The bands on that label sometimes tend to be sounding commercial oriented and almost always with a leg leaning towards AOR, and also this album feels to be more hard rock oriented. This is more than solely power metal, for good and for bad.
So far so good, Gather The Faithful serves as good momentarily listening without making any lasting impressions since the album leaves you untouched. One would think that with this line-up you could expect more, but it is the songs that are in general to weak, many of them holds bits and pieces that stand out, like the guitar solo in Stolen Waters that otherwise doesn't raise any eyebrows, despite a strong resemblance with Sonata Arctica.
Stay away from Into The Blue, that wants you to hook arm and sway back and forth. This is a downside with power-metalians; they write pussy ballads. I am allergic to these elements in a genre I otherwise love whole-hearted. And furthermore, they commit the ultimate sin in my book when closing the album with a saggy ballad. That is so wrong since you don't want something that makes you push skip during the last song, I want something catchy that makes me want to let the album have another spin.
By the way, if you would increase the pace on the closing Elegantly Broken it would sound like an eighties pop-song. If the other ballad caused an allergic reaction, this one gives me the swine flu. The melodic line is stolen from Taylor Dayne's hit Tell It To My Heart from 1988, and it so obvious that it is embarrassing (thanx Spotify for making it able to quickly follow up my suspicion about this).
also review of: Stormcrow