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Cardinal Sin - Lucified

Cardinal Sin
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 10 March 2020, 12:28 PM

CARDINAL SIN’s just warming up, we’ve yet to kick your ass!” says singer/lead guitarist Will McElwee in the closing track, “Ragin’ 20s”, and he sure wasn’t kidding. CARDINAL SIN, the fan-favorite hard and heavy three-piece out of Philadelphia, PA, is back on January 1, 2020, with their second release, “Lucified.”  After the success of their self-titled debut, released in May of 2018, which featured the hit single “Nation Under God”, the band is out to prove to the world that they are no one-trick pony. With the additions of Chase Pendleton on drums and Jake King on bass, “Lucified” displays a whole new side of the metal band from the City of Brotherly Love.  The album contains eight tracks.

“Lucified” leads off the album. It opens with a bit of Hard Rock swagger, fueled by a heavy riff and raspy vocals. The music is fairly simple—it’s like a garage band comes to life on stage. I can see them having a solid stage show. “Peace be with you” is a seven-minute beast. Opening with a slow and sexy rhythm, it labors…with heavy doses of Will’s voice. The vocal harmonies are a bit off-putting and don’t really connect well with the rest of the music. There is a long instrumental pause before the sound returns. “Steroid” features a more noticeable bass line. Finally, after three songs I know who the band reminds me of…NIRVANA. But the length of some of these songs seem unnecessary.

“Bleed” is a little more succinct. The bass guitar thumps along with vocals in between the guitar parts. It’s Hard Rock/Alterative Rock for me. “The Depot” is a short, two-and-a-half-minute burner where the pace is hastened and the vocals are done with fervor, more in the Hardcore genre, especially the cadence of the vocals. “Life II” is a slower song, more of a power ballad of sorts? Will sings with emotion here, partially whispering, while the guitars build a subtle melody in the background. When the electric guitars come in, they really nail home the sound. This is a well done track. “Don’t Shut me out” is a more straightforward rocker. But those doomy elements are starting to shine through here on the album. “Ragin’ 20’s” features a simple but heartfelt riff and some twangy bass guitars. There is a nice breakdown with a guitar solo after the second chorus.

Overall, there wasn’t much to get excited about. The music is simple, but fun. These guys sound like they had a lot of fun making the album for sure. But it just doesn’t measure up, especially when compared to the thousands of bands out there making this kind of music. It’s fairly bland, and vanilla. Perhaps I am too used to more complicated music.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. Lucified
2. Peace be with you
3. Steroid
4. Bleed
5. The Depot
6. Life II
7. Don’t Shut me out
8. Ragin’ 20’s
Will McElwee – Vocals, Guitars
Jake King – Bass
Chase Pendleton – Drums
Record Label: Machine Man Records


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