Cardiant – Verge
Reviewed by Graham Henry
Verge is the third release from Finnish power metal group Cardiant. They practice a brand of Scandinavian power metal that won’t re-write the books on the genre, and certainly isn’t going to change any perceptions, but manages to sound solid nonetheless. This album can best be defined as a completely inoffensive example of Finnish power metal in pretty much every way. The listener won’t hear much that makes them want to cringe or skip to the next track, but also won’t hear much that makes them want to listen to the album a second time in a row.
Vocalist Erik does a pretty good job on this album. His sometimes eerie similarity to Timo Kotipelto notwithstanding, he puts down competent vocals on almost every track. The album opener, “Justice Turns Into Revenge” really highlights his vocal abilities, mostly in the mid-to-high range. His pitch is fine throughout the album, and some if his wails carry some power. Songs like “Thought’s Inception” and “Stranger In Me” display the full extent of his vocal abilities, stretching the upper limits of his voice. Likewise, songs like “Break Your Mind” highlight the best the vocal melodies have to offer here. My largest concern is that the vocal melodies on each song are very similar, and often begin to run together.
Guitars and keyboards on this album are pretty par for the course. The keyboards rarely take a leading role, and reduce themselves to largely providing atmosphere at different points throughout the album’s 10 songs. They are present, inoffensive, and sterile. The guitars are much the same – few songs are driven by a riff, and very rarely do they every approach “power metal speed,” sticking mostly to providing chords to accompany the melody. The guitars kick it into gear on “Heaven’s Calling,” and “Break Your Mind” though, and do a good job. The solos, both keyboards and guitar, in the former song display the best the instrumentals on this album have to offer.
There are a number of female vocals that appear at different points. They too, are competently performed but otherwise undistinguished. Songs like “Ever Since” switch back and forth between male and female leads, while the album closer “While The Ice Is Cold” features exclusively female vocals. The male vocals are clearly the emphasis, but the female vocals make a few other scattered appearances throughout the album (and no doubt feature in the choral backing vocals).
The ballad “Love’s Not On My Way” is largely forgettable, as is the second ballad “While The Ice Is Cold,” (which, as I said above, is also the only song with primarily female vocals). I don’t like them because I don’t like most ballads, but they aren’t cringe-worthy or indigestion-inducing like many. Like most of this album, it is par for the course.
While Verge is clearly an improvement from the band’s last album, it still is not as good as their debut. Likewise, in a year that has already seen many excellent power metal albums (and will hopefully see many more!), this album is not likely to stand out, make any end-of-year lists, or even be remembered by all but the most dedicated power metal fans after a couple of months. It is not bad, but it is not great either. It is the very definition of “ok.”
2.75 // 5