The fourth output from Finnish sextet metallers CARDIANT comes following Verge in 2013, an album which saw them rise to #11 in the Finnish charts, an impressive feat for any metal band. Alongside this achievement the band reached the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010, writing and recording the theme and entrance song for Finnish ice-hockey team Tappara in the same year.
Mirrors and Me opens with a bouncy synth soon joined by a flash attack from the rest of the band, Karhatsu’s vocals bellow across the top of the battle riffs, chugging alongside the pounding drums. With a chorus featuring brass and choir vocals this opener sets an epic scene; to finish it off a duelling guitar and synth solo puts the cherry above a riff laden cake. Riot Rising starts centred around a drum fill, slowly building as the synths set the atmosphere before the riff smashes its way; its simple groove fits perfectly and is sure to be a riot when blasted at a crowd. The guitars solo away throughout in perfect style, never taking away from the underlying melody, instead providing an uplifting break from the darker overtone of the low-slung riffs. A Quiet One opens with a soothing melody before Outi Jokinen’s soft vocals layer above in perfect harmony. Soon the bass joins the crowd, softly embellishing the mood; creating vivid scenery as the drums join and the full mix including African drums in the background sooth the listener before the eruption of Blank Star. A quad attack of double bass drums sets the pace alongside a suitably epic riff, the perfect soundtrack to accompany the vocals of Erik Karhatsu.
Absolute Power instantly feels very 80’s and glam, that is until the riff truly shows its flare and drops the glitter for sheer grunt. Jokinen’s vocals here shine, the dichotomy between the low-end guitars and soaring vocals is beautiful in this anthemic feeling feast. A personal highlight from is Another Time, Another Place which features vocals from Nitte Valo, Pasi Rantanen and Janne Saksa – who provided vocals to their debut album Midday Moon as a session vocalist back in 2005. The guitar work here is on another level, clearly showing their power metal influences as the synths join in bringing the album to unseen heights. The progression as each vocalist swaps before joining together for a four-way harmony across the chorus is both luscious yet uncrowded. A swift guitar solo relinquishes the chorus and provides a bridge to a key change, bringing with it a darker tonality. This atmosphere ends with a calm and arpeggio based clean guitar, a soft end for such an epic anthem.
Life Has Just Begun is the first single with a video released from the album, opening with guitar laden with chorus it seems to be another soft ballad until the riff kicks in and slams its way through any perceivable opinions. The chorus is massive, the guitars are thick and meaty alongside the lower thunder of the bass. Ending abruptly and launching into a sweep picked solo the guitars from Antti Hänninen really shine and showcase his clear talent in transforming the dynamic alongside the tight rhythm section from Lauri Hänninen.
After such a promising rise from independently funded album releases to reaching Eurovision level and high chart performance, its joyful to hear that CARDIANT is clearly on a rise to the top of their country’s plentiful metal providers with Mirrors. The songs are well written, produced wonderfully with a powerful and epic scale feeling throughout. For fans or Finland’s famous brand of metal this album will satisfy their needs thoroughly with another variation (from headbangers to ballads) to keep them hooked.
Mirrors is out now via Inverse Records.
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