Cadacross – So Pale is the Light

So Pale is the Light

Let’s travel back in discography time machine for a moment. So Pale is the Light is Finnish band Cadacross’ debut album from 2001, and back then the group consisted of five members. In the four years since, the lineup has completely changed save founding member Georg Laakso, and Cadacross released a second full-length album. Lots of fans of Nordic metal have already heard So Pale is the Light, but for some reason Crash Music decided to license the disc from Low Frequency Records to give the band more exposure in the United States. While I’m of the opinion that Cadacross already had a decent buzz among American metal circles, I’m sure that extra push from a bigger label can’t hurt.

Regardless of the timeframe, So Pale is the Light proves just as good today as it was when first released. The group plays a unique brand of power metal that borrows its vocal style from death metal and mixes it up with folk, classical, and thrash. The disc opens with a lovely instrumental called “Lit the Heart of Night” – which draws heavily on the folk aspect of the group’s music and sounds almost like a medieval minstrel’s tune before moving into some fairly laid-back power metal. The listener is immediately introduced to the group’s heavy use of keyboards, and this is an important aspect of whether or not you will like Cadacross’ music.

The keyboards are what give So Pale is the Light its orchestral feel, and when combined with two guitars, the keys serve to enhance the band’s already melodic songs. If you prefer the guitar to be the center of attention for a power metal band, you may be disappointed with Cadacross. If this isn’t an issue, then Cadacross will not let you down. As expected, So Pale is the Light packs a lot of technical prowess into just seven tracks, and there is no doubt that the lineup at the time was tight and played flawlessly together. The album contains a wide variety of songs, like the epic “Battle of North” and the 14-and-a-half-minute monstrosity “Turmion Taival,” which has a carnival-type feel. The lyrics are impossible to understand due to that death-metal growl and also because they are likely sung in Finnish. The lyrics are even more garbled because the vocal track is the one thing less than stellar about the production, getting lost in the mix. Fortunately, this vocal issue isn’t as predominant on the band’s sophomore release.

Melodic power-metal fans or those interested in learning more about Nordic metal should definitely check out So Pale is the Light if they haven’t already come across this album in the past four years. Though the group has changed and grown a lot since this album was originally released, it is a good introduction to Georg Laakso’s songwriting abilities – not to mention it’s an all-around fine collection of songs.