Cadacross - _Corona Borealis_
(Low Frequency Records, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (7.5 out of 10)
After a whimsical but enjoyable classical intro, Cadacross launch into some mid-paced but crunchy power metal that isn't a million miles away from what's peddled by Skyfire. As far as I am concerned this a good thing, although it is undoubtedly responsible for some rather bland medieval imagery. The production is not as assertive as it might be, but it serves the music fine, establishing the right balance between hard riffs and ethereal synth. The hollow rasping of vocalist Sami Aarnio sounds somewhat forced, but is adequately suited to the music, adding aggressive character into the atmosphere. Merging classical-esque flourishes and sharp metal riffs within traditional tonality, _Aurora Borealis_ is an over-the-top but successfully executed record. Cadacross create passionate melodic passages and ride on their strength in conjuring inventive atmospherics with the music. Intermittently they achieve a high standard of power metal brilliance; "Flaming Ember" is one particular stand out track. Employing strong Maiden-style melodic layering and foundational riff progressions, the harder elements are offset by Antti Ventola's synth, establishing itself with symphonic infusions of scene painting mood. Although Cadacross ooze metal vibrancy, _Corona Borealis_ suffers from basic power metal problems. The music flows in a way that feels somewhat loose, motifs do not always remain in one's mind, nor can one immediately follow the structure of the songs. The album takes a while to really get going and there are the expected moments of silliness. The baroque guitar solo on "Wreath of Seven Stars" is pure Nigel Tufnell and some of the synth work can make you wince; when one listens to metal, one should not have the mental image of dancing gnomes (I don't care if they are elemental creatures of fantasy, dancing gnomes are gay without exception). Yet _Corona Borealis_ is an overall success in that it turns stock in trade power metal features into inspired musical forces. When an album can provoke love for metal and fantasy, it is an achievement; and Cadacross succeed to do so without becoming tiresome, making _Corona Borealis_ a measured triumph.

(article published 20/10/2003)

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