Review Summary: The style shifts and song variety are enough to keep them from being yet another Reverend Bizarre clone but the less memorable songwriting still makes it difficult for them to stand out on their own terms.
Cardinals Folly seems like a pretty typical Finnish doom metal band on their fourth full-length album. Deranged Pagan Sons is here barely a year after their last album, Holocaust of Ecstasy & Freedom, and offers much of the same occult-friendly traditional doom. As with their previous efforts, Reverend Bizarre emulation is the order of the day with fuzzy-driven riffs, prominently groovy bass, and operatic yet untrained baritone vocals on full display.
However, this album does offer a grittier approach to influence its songwriting. There isn’t anything on here like the black metal undercurrent of Our Cult Continues, but songs like “Dionysian” and the title track show off some Celtic Frost inspiration in the faster tempo breaks in combination with the buzzing guitar tone and the vocals’ frequent growl slippage. Of course, there are tracks like “Three-Bladed Doom” where there is more focus put on good old fashioned Pentagram worship and even a couple where one can hear a bit of Kyuss seeping through.
But like Cardinals Folly’s previous efforts, the songwriting isn’t that memorable. The songs themselves are varied and tracks like “Suicide Commando” and “I Belong in the Woods” put in some strong riff sets during the album’s second half, but the compositions barely miss the mark that would make them classics. Something feels a little off but it’s tricky to tell if it’s a matter of song structures or the musicianship behind them.
Overall, Deranged Pagan Sons is one of Cardinals Folly’s most accessible albums and may even be their best so far but I’m not sure if the band is quite at the point of being a major staple in the doom scene. The style shifts and song variety are enough to keep them from being yet another Reverend Bizarre clone but the less memorable songwriting still makes it difficult for them to stand out on their own terms. I could see this improving with further listens, especially the second half, but it may not have much appeal to anyone but seasoned doomsters.
“I Belong in the Woods”
“Secret of the Runes”
Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com