EARLY CROSS – Pathfinder

Lion Music 2013

EARLY CROSS - Pathfinder

EARLY CROSS – Pathfinder

Heavy quartet from Japan feel their way forward and afoot, lay claim to a terrain of their own.

It’s been a decade of natural progression for this band whose future began to shape once singer Natasha Vaichuk joined the ranks and poured her Slavonic heritage into the CROSS onslaught. Now, with a couple of EPs under their collective belt, “Pathfinder” emerges elegantly to marry expansive allure of epics such as “The Pilgrimage” to a solemn squeal of Hiroaki Kato’s guitars and folk vocals that chill the listener’s soul from “Ashes & Yarrow” on. No wonder the foursome’s Nordic charm appealed for Finland’s Lion Music.

The genuine magic is conjured when acoustic lace runs over shiny veneer of “Hymn To The Fallen”, where a tentative “Heaven And Hell” quote dissolves in the crystal piano line, but, throughout, choral harmonies keep standard power metal riffs on the right side of bombast. They spice up the blacker concoctions like “Cry Havoc” that slowly but surely envelop one’s psyche, and these artful tendencies lured ANEKDOTEN’s Jan Erik Liljestrom into delivering spoken word on the mellotron-mulched “The Fog”, while “Cairn” adds bouzouki to this heady mix of influences and originality, which gets hotter as the album flows on. It flows and it grows on one – and in scope, too. Out from the haze, the CROSS’ road looks clear now.

****3/4

May 6, 2013

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