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Cardinals Folly – Defying the Righteous Way

Cardinals Folly
Defying the Righteous Way
by Gary Hernandez at 13 April 2020, 6:06 PM

CARDINALS FOLLY is a Doomed Metal band from Helsinki, Finland. They formed in 2004 as THE COVEN and took up their newer moniker in 2007. They have a sizeable catalogue including five full-length albums, two EPs, and two splits. On March 6, 2020 they released their fifth LP, “Defying the Righteous Way.” The album is something of a mixed bag. There are parts of that crush, and others that fall short.

One of the most distinctive things about this band, apart from the missing apostrophe in the name, is Count Karnstein’s vocal styling. On one hand they come across as overwrought and affectatious; on the other, they are utterly compelling. For me they’re like natto — you know, the sushi dish often described as “authentic Japanese fermented soybean.” If you’ve never had this, you should try it with eyes wide open. It’s my theory that if you take anything to its extreme, it becomes it opposite. Natto is so bad that it’s good. And, so it is with Count Karnstein’s vocals. With that said, I love natto.

Okay, so if the vocals are a major distraction, the guitar work of Nordic Wrath is a major attraction. CARDINALS FOLLY is at their best when its head down, straight-forward galloping riffs. The last two and half minutes of track one, “Star Align Again,” for instance, are metal mana. When these guys want to rock, you best just get out of the way. With that in mind, stand out tracks are “Stars Align Again,” “Deranging the Priest,” and “Witchfinders.” These are also the first three tracks, which may suggest that the album either unravels as it progresses or simply losses momentum. This tendency is also mirrored in the two longest tracks, “The Great Santur” and “Strange Conflict.” As the minutes go on and on, the band just seems to lose its way.

CARDINALS FOLLY has been around in one iteration or another for 16 years now, so they’re doing something right. Some of that shines through in “Defying the Righteous Way,” but overall the album comes across as uneven and plodding. I haven’t heard earlier albums by them, so can’t say if they’ve lost their edge or if was never there to begin with. While “Defying the Righteous Way” has its moments, it suffers from a lack of consistency and passion.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. Stars Align Again
2. Deranging the Priest
3. Witchfinders
4. The Great Santur
5. The Living Dead
6. Ultra-Violence
7. Last House on the Left
8. Strange Conflict
Count Karnstein - Bass, vocals
Nordic Wrath - Guitars
Battle Ram - Drums
Record Label: Rafchild Records


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