Transport Japanese band Early Cross about 5,000 miles across the North pole, dropping them in Scandinavia or the heart of the European continent, and they would find a certain kinship with other bands. They're a female-fronted band that plays melodic progressive power metal, sometimes symphonic or atmospheric, often epic at times.
Maybe this is why the came to the attention of our friends at Lion Music. They also had a track on Lion's benefit album Embrace The Sun, to help those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.
Ultimately, fans of the melodic progressive metal genre will find Early Cross and Pathfinder, their full-length debut, a creative and entertaining spin, a contender in this broad field. But first they have to get through the opener of Ashes & Yarrow, which basically swings between darkly atmospheric measures and passages of heavy riffage, the latter nearly crushing Natasha Vaichuk's vocals.
From here Pathfinder evolves and gets much better. The arrangements are more interesting with more dynamics and involvement of the individual musicians and their instruments. Cry Havoc is an assertive power metal song demonstrating, at the very least, that Early Cross can be heavy metal. Hymn to the Fallen ups the ante developing the prog side of things in a more expansive way. Cairn does the same, with a sometimes lighter agenda. Yet, the longer The Pilgrimage is likely Early Cross' signature piece, showing the breadth and depth of that evolving prog expansiveness. The song is well-composed and the individual contributions both deliberate and unifying. Notable is the rather impressive drumming from Yushi Soutome. Basically, Early Cross' Pathfinder is a well thought out, deftly composed, and expertly played work, an exciting and entertaining debut from a promising band. Recommended.
Early Cross' Pathfinder is a well thought out, deftly composed, and expertly played work, an exciting and entertaining debut from a promising band. Recommended.
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