Cain's Dinasty - Madmen, witches and vampires 4/5
1. Breaking the bloodlines
2. After death still you play with me
3. Waiting for death
4. Devil may cry
6. My last sunrise
7. Miss terror
8. Bring me your blood
9. A void in my heart
10. Fuck you forever
Power metal devotees may recall that Cain’s Dinasty emerged from Spain a couple of years ago with a plan to make their mark on a very crowded genre. Their debut CD, ‘Legacy of blood’, made some waves with its provocative cover image and oddly schizophrenic sound that had one foot in the Gamma Ray/Heavenly camp and the other in a darker, gothic metal style. Colleague Clint reviewed ‘Legacy of blood’ here upon its release in 2008. In my view, his review was right on the money, with respect to both the 3/5 rating and his expressions of discomfort with the ill-fitting gothic elements. Now Cain’s Dinasty are back, albeit with a revamped line-up that includes only singer/writer Ruben Picazo and bassist Paco Catillo from the debut CD. The band have also switched labels, with their new home being Japan’s Red Rivet Records, which also features Cain’s Dinasty’s countrymen Opera Magna.
Straight out of the chute, ‘Madmen, witches and vampires’ is sure to raise eyebrows like its forerunner, thanks to a striking cover painting that looks like a scene out of a ‘Resident evil’ with a busty female warrior kicking some serious zombie ass. But the music is bound to impress even more because Cain’s Dinasty have taken a large step forward. The basic style is the same as on ‘Legacy of blood’, namely, melodic fast power metal with symphonic and dark metal aspects. But all of these elements mesh much more effectively on ‘Madmen, witches and vampires’. Picazo and his accomplices appear to have made a conscious decision that they are a speedy, guitar-oriented power metal band first and foremost, with the symphonic and harsh/gothic parts being accents rather than forces of distraction prominently tugging in a different stylistic direction. So most of the songs feature high-octane riffing, aggressive drumming, compelling melodies and catchy choruses, but with a layer of orchestration sheen and a darker underbelly (growls and even a black metal nod or 2) cropping up from time to time to keep things interesting. The overall effect is somewhat akin to how Kamelot might sound if they melded their current morose style with the melodic speed of ‘The fourth legacy’, and if they somehow got really angry in their writing sessions.
In addition to fashioning a more unified sound, Cain’s Dinasty have grown as songwriters too. I don’t recall anything from the debut being as catchy and downright cool as songs such as opener “Breaking the bloodlines”, “Waiting for death”, and especially “My last sunrise”. Only the somber acoustic ballad, ‘A void in my heart’, misses the mark and sends me scampering for the skip button. The last track, “Fuck you forever”, initially made me cringe with its shock-schlock title. But then I saw in the liner notes that, rather than some ‘Twilight’ vampire sex tripe, it is an anti-domestic violence song “dedicated to all women who had the courage to kick in the ass those that mistreated them.” So it’s actually a tune celebrating female empowerment, a theme that is sadly underrepresented in metal. I’ll drink to that, especially when the song is musically fantastic. Many tracks on ‘Madmen, witches and vampires’ feature blistering guitar work courtesy of new axeman JJ Ruiz, and there are few awesome Hansen/Weikath harmonies too. Singer Picazo may not win any awards for his somewhat nasal and heavily-accented pipes, but he does a perfectly competent job, reminding me often of Wolf’s Niklas Stalvind in terms of his vocal tone.
So Cain’s Dinasty have turned the corner on ‘Madmen, witches and vampires’. They have successfully transformed themselves from a stylistically confused band clawing for a toehold on the periphery of the power metal mainstream into an act with a clear, unique artistic vision and the ability to execute it effectively. Fans of ‘Legacy of blood’ should seek out this new Cain’s Dinasty CD without delay. And those who favor melodic power metal in the Gamma Ray/Heavenly mold, but with a few fresh ideas that stand out from the cookie-cutter hordes, would be strongly advised to check out ‘Madmen, witches and vampires’. Our friends at Red Rivet Records have another winner on their hands!
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