Monday 25 August 2014

Cardinal Wyrm - Black Hole Gods (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 5/8/2014
Label: Self-Released

“Black Hole Gods” Track Listing:

1). Deep Within 02:13
2). Dreams of Teeth 10:15
3). Born in a Barren Land 12:39
4). Warden of the Swans 02:56
5). Leaves of the Hanging Tree 07:30
6). I am the Doorway 08:14
7). Cult of the Coiled Spine 08:46
8). The Outlier 07:29

Cardinal Wyrm is a trio from Bay Area whose sound is rooted in traditional, epic doom inspired by the immortal tones of Reverend Bizarre, Solitude Aeturnus, and Bathory's grandiose odes as well as the desperate filth of their neighbors in Noothgrush. Steered by drummer and vocalist Pranjal Tiwari, bassist Rachel Roomian, and guitarist Nathan Verill, the band has been active since 2010, churning through a triad of releases and sharing the stage with acts such as Wolvserpent, Uzala and Sabbat.

Now, their upcoming album Black Hole Gods is due to be be released on August 5, 2014, and features background vocals by Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune) in addition to eight tracks of dusty, devilish true doom.

The Band:

Rachel Roomian | Bass, Organ, Vocals
Pranjal Tiwari | Drums, Lead Vocals
Nathan Verrill | Guitar, Synth, Vocals

Guest Vocals on "Dreams of Teeth" by Leila Abdul-Rauf


Sweet crunchy guitar tones over stinging bees fuzz bass, prepare your epi-pen because you're going to have a seizure of ecstasy worshiping “Black Hole Gods” on Cardinal Wyrm's newest album. The strangely short “Deep Within” begins the album with some nice mood setting for the creature birthed in the following tracks. “Dreams of Teeth” has some sweet backup vocals and cool riffing taking a really cool detour mid song with a sweet bridge section into some raging female lo-fi black metal scream vocals reminiscent of the awesome chick from Dark Castle's angrier moments. The slight black metal influence in some of the vocals and the production really makes this album for me. The riffs aren't black metal but the raw lo-fi production harkens to some of that genre's greats and really sounds awesome with the ballsy doom riffs. The guitar tone reminds me of a rawer “Don't Break the Oath” era King Diamond. Although this unexpected meeting lacks the insane shrieking of Mr. Diamond it does bear some nice vocal performances with some nice clean male lower pitched singing.

The third track “Born in a Barren Land” has another really cool bridge leading into a pretty sweet 80s shred solo resolving into a heavy riff then back into another sweet solo. This track starts slow but displays some of the better song writing on the album moving through some pleasantly unexpected changes. Closing with an extended theatrical vocal performance and some tempo-wizarding by the drummer (well done sir, It is simple but tracking stuff like that is a gigantic pain in the ass to get it perfect) it is one of the more fun and better tracks on the album. “Warden of the Swans” start with an organ. Fuck yeah organ is awesome. With lyrics seemingly based on Tchaikovsky's amazing “Swan Lake” a great mood piece over a repeating organ figure.

“Leaves of this Hanging Tree” is my favourite track on the album setting a bleak atmosphere at the beginning of the song reminding me of some of Celtic Frost's slower stuff on the classic Monotheist. The very smooth tempo change into a pretty raging middle section definitely has my favourite riffs on this album. “I am the Doorway” begins with some almost post-rock guitar over pounding toms underneath a sample then collapses into some pretty great riffs. This is the strongest track on the album from top to finish, it has the best riffs, the best songwriting, the coolest lyrics, and the best atmosphere.

The penultimate track on the album “Cult of Coiled Spine” I have a suspicion is absolutely crushingly heavy live. Album closer “The Outlier” has some really cool dynamic changes from the verse to chorus and some nice ominous backing organ to the verses. To the potential listener I would say that “Black Hole Gods” improves as you travel deeper into the album. The last four songs in particular are really exceptional and ‘must be heard’ pieces of music. For a band that only appears to have two releases under their belt, Cardinal Wyrm has a fully realized and excellent sound and I can honestly say I have never heard anyone quite like them and it's a rare band that displays this level of sophistication on only their second release.

Words By: Chris Tedor

You can pick up a copy here

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