"So Pale Is the Light"

(Crash Music Inc.)

01. At the Heart of Night
02. Twilight
03. So Pale Is the Light
04. Battle of North
05. Might of Sword
06. Dawn Breaks Behind My Eyes
07. Turmion Taival

RATING: 7/10

Continuing Crash Music's recent trend of licensing years-old albums for belated release in the USA, we're dealt a 2001 effort from Finland's CADACROSS. This seven-track, forty-odd-minute album is a well-done, if fairly typical affair showcasing some of that more refined, pompous, keyboard-laced black metal that was all the rage on many third-string European labels a few years back. Opener "At the Heart of Night" boasts an intro that recalls mid-period KATATONIA, before "Twilight" eases into a midtempo, slightly pagan/folk-influenced sound.

The title track recalls FINNTROLL's use of native rhythm and melody amid blackened chaos, with perhaps a dash of CHILDREN OF BODOM virtuosity and energy thrown in for added kick. The appropriately-titled "Might of Sword" adds a little traditional power metal feel and some nice layered guitars, along with more of the tasty little solo runs that permeate all of CADACROSS's songs, weaving in and out of the prevalent keyboards to make a full and lush, if somewhat familiar, sound.

"So Pale Is the Light" is a definite grower — I nearly gave it a 5 on first listen. But, for lack of a better word, it's a pleasant black metal album. It carries its medieval air well, keeps the harsh vocals mixed low, and provides a feast of guitarwork and ornate keyboards that satisfies the ears, even if no one element really stands out. It's definitely a bit too gussied up for the "tr00 kvlt" old-school worshipers, but its atmospheric grandeur will appeal to most other black metal fans. Here's hoping this is the first of several U.S. releases to catch us Yanks up with CADACROSS, as a perusal of their web site reveals the band is now an eight-piece (!) outfit. Who knows what they've accomplished since recording this album?


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