‘Our Cult Continues!’
Shadow Kingdom Records (19 Aug 2014)
A band ploughing its own furrow and creating a sound and atmosphere of its own is a reason to celebrate. After all, the doom metal underground sometimes seems packed with toothless sheep, so it is great to spend some time with wolves. Laughing off the shackles of the latest trends or retro gimmicks, Helsinki trio Cardinals Folly (formerly known as The Coven) bring an energy and inventiveness to the genre that is authentic and unique.
This follow-up to the band’s impressive debut ‘Such Power Is Dangerous!’ is an ecstatic, intriguing slice of lunacy. Each song explodes like a firework in a rain-soaked sky. It’s sometimes slightly wild, thrashing like a doom-octopus that has found itself stranded upon a shale beach, but is never less than entertaining.
Cardinals Folly have something in common with fellow Finns Reverend Bizarre, in that they create diverting, beguiling and powerful – if not especially heavy – compositions that ooze quality. The rasping, buzzing guitars are far from crushing in their tone, but the overall effect is sharp and metallic enough to fell a giant fir in 30 seconds.
The voice of singer/bassist Mikko Kääriäinen is stronger in the higher octaves, on which occasions things can get almost epic, stirring the emotions. His clean, honest vocals can seem a little uncertain in lower octaves, creating a barrier to the listener’s immersion in this baptism of doomed insanity.
‘Our Cult Continues!’ benefits from a slight DIY edginess, the sound of fingers sliding along strings effectively inviting listeners into the studio to share the performance in a more ‘live’ and personal environment.
After the occult weirdness of opener ’Chant Of Shadows’, ‘Morbid Glory’ (Great song titles!) rumbles into view with an unusual vocal-guitar partnership before unleashing a monumental metal riff. It’s a pattern that continues throughout – quirky bit followed by kick-ass bit, and it works really well. The album’s second half is perhaps a little safer than the first, but not much weaker.
Like Cirith Ungol and others before them, Cardinals Folly are essentially a good old metal band playing great new metal songs, all of which are heavily weighted towards darkness and doom. The vocals might be a little off-putting here and there, but overall this is a high-quality and original offering.