The album is a collection of 10 fairly straightforward power metal songs, one of which is an intrumental, and the remaining 9 are an even balance of uptempo, mid tempo, and balladry. The album was written entirely by Jani Liimitainen, and he has some absolutely killer guitar riffs, but what stood out to me the most about this release was the production balance. Each song achieves an incredible sound balance where the bass, drums, guitar, and keys are all distinct. In a genre where the bass is usually mixed as low as possible, this gives the album a lot of freshness. While the double bass drum assault is nothing new to power metal, Jani Hurula does a very good job of keeping up with some of the genre’s best veterans, and has a very crisp and aggressive style.
Mikko Harkin is as impressive as he’s ever been, although he’s a student from the Jens Johansson school of keyboard shredding, he provides a lot of variety and symphonic elements, especially on songs like “Gather the Faithful”, and “Morpheus in a Masquerade”. As for Jani’s guitar work, his skills are on full display in “Dawn of Solace”, “Stolen Waters”, and “My Queen Of Winter” and are just as impressive as he’s ever been in his career.
As for Timo Kotipelto, it’s obvious that Jani has a much clearer grasp on what his voice is good at than Timo Tolkki was. While TK has a very impressive range, and has sung some real power metal anthems, he is much more natural singing in the middle high ranges. With less strain on his voice to reach the high notes, his unique voice and strong tone take better shape and it becomes a much more pleasing experience for the listener. The ballads on this album (“Elegantly Broken”, and “Into the Blue”) are much more interesting than the ballads Timo had been singing recently in Stratovarius for this reason.
Where “Gather the Faithful” falters is that while it is fresh up on explosive speedy tracks with great melodies, there isn’t a song that really presents anything earth shattering, or failing that, the traditional “Power Metal epic”, So while every song on the album is great in its own right, and it has no weak songs, it lacks a few of the pieces to make it a landmark release. Absolutely worth a listen though.