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Our Cult Continues!

Shadow Kingdom (2014)
Rating: 7/10

There are times when you just want an album to evoke images of childhood, especially a childhood that was spent reading through the yellowing pages of a Dennis Wheatley novel or another H.P. Lovecraft absurdity.

Well, with Our Cult Continues!, Finnish doomsters Cardinals Folly can be relied on to provide those chills down the spine. An eight-track composition, this is the band’s second full-length opus and follows on from the 2011 debut Such Power Is Dangerous!.

Immediately the introduction (‘Chant Of Shadows’) sets the mood, a peculiar rhythmic, cavernous, esoteric mantra that leads us into the murk of ‘Morbid Glory’; complete with shuffling drum, intriguing chords and lumbering menace it’s promising doom metal of gothic aplomb. Vocally, bassist Mikko Kääriäinen has a sort of clean yet ominous tone, and the music set around this narrated style of gloom is one simple yet catchy. Strangely, the track has a sort of British rainy quality, the only real issue being that the song is overlong, lacks variation and tends to labour after a while.

‘The Black Baroness’ makes up for this, however; the track is a squelching chunk of fuzzed-up doom hinting at Cathedral although the vocals just lack that bite, but it’s still a mighty lump of occult rock that remains entertaining in its basic form.

The title track aims to disturb the senses with its lumbering magic and again I’m reminded of Cathedral, yet with less weight and kaleidoscopic intensity. Although extremely catchy, I do wish the band would add a sprig of variation. After all, doom metal riffs created by Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) are so hard to reinvent, but with that exemplary bass trundling way and the drum providing a sturdy backbone, Cardinals Folly have the sort of musty charm akin to reading one of those old Fighting Fantasy novels. Although it’s not quite Dennis Wheatley at his most mesmeric or macabre, there is still a sense of foreboding, mainly with the creaking behemoth that is ‘Sighisoaran’ and the equally syrupy ‘The Lover’s Crypt’.

It’s not doom metal that is going to raise the roof, though. While the press release is quick to cite Witchfinder General, I see no comparison myself. This is an album slightly let down by the rather tuneless vocal booms, but if you like simple doom metal with occult spatters, then it might be worth setting a temporary placement within Cardinals Folly and then moving on to something heavier when the time comes.

Neil Arnold

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