"Such Power Is Dangerous!"

By Earthdog

I have been waiting for this one for what seems like forever... the new Cardinals Folly album 'Such Power is Dangerous.' Just in case this band has someone passed under your radar, they are a traditional doom metal band from Helsinki, Finland that used to be called The Coven. In 2009 they released an EP titled 'Orthodox Faces' that showed huge potential and was easily one of the best new bands to emerge in the doom metal scene in that year.

A couple of years on and they have come out of the woodwork with a 69 minute full-length album that delivers more than I could have ever hoped for. With a great high quality label behind them in Shadow Kingdom the writing is on the wall: this band should be and deserves to be huge in the doom underground.

Being a Finnish band, I guess it is no big surprise that they sound a little like the late Reverend Bizarre and they certainly have their sabbathian traditional doom metal roots but rather than just recycling the same Sabbath formula, Cardinals Folly actually do something truly memorable with it and have released an album that can rival the likes of the latest Wounded Kings and Lord Vicar albums.

They have all the trad-doom elements you would expect; moaning, depressive low and deep riffs and emotional draining, forlorn vocals and the songs are mostly long. Apart from the opening track that I will talk about in a minute that sounds oddly out of place at just a bit over three minutes, every track on here ranges from 8 to almost 14 minutes of epic doom metal. The production is ideal for doom metal, it is warm, thick, and I am guessing analog and all the tracks carry an atmosphere that is mesmerizing and hypnotic. The album starts with an almost total instrumental piece titled 'The Hammer Speaks' and the vibe here is ominous, with great power and groove. At first the track merely just sets up the groove before the first real killer riff of the album is unleashed a minute or so into the piece. From that point on, this is the perfect opening track that neatly sets up the vibe for the 10 minute title track that follows and this is where the band really shows what they are about. The title track is trad-doom in every detail including the tempo but where as some bands might resort to just plodding along, Cardinals Folly are constantly building the tension and atmosphere. This track is downer rock at its finest and the melodic vocals are just the icing on the cake for a beautifully executed, majestic - sounding track.

The track that follows called 'Valkyries I Avenge' ups the tempo ever so slightly and is a little bit more off-kilter and quirky with vocalist Mikko Kääriäinen sounding like he just escaped from a mental asylum. He unleashes insane bouts of laughter in the track to give the track a slightly off-the-wall appeal but mostly this is a groovin, headbanging chunk of epic metal that shows real class and diversity. Next up is 'The Spear of Destiny' which starts off a little off-the-wall as well with the band messing with the tape-speed or something before it settles down into another thick, heavy epic doom groove. The track, like most of this album is deceptive with its hooks. It reminds me of other catchy trad-doom outfits like Count Raven and Procession. Like those bands, the songs are great but the real magic is in the musicianship of the people involved. Cardinals Folly are the real deal... professional with a killer rhythm section that oozes real class. 'The Spear of Destiny' pushes the 12 minute mark in length but it never feels like it is that long, it is concise and beautifully well-structured.

'Antediluvian Dreams' is really more of the same epic doom but this one is perhaps even more traditional with a early Candlemass kind of vibe. It is another lengthy tune but its strength is in the way that it is never meandering or stretched out without the ideas to make it interesting. 'Uncharted Seas' is one of the albums most punishing tracks that pounds the brain and stirs up emotions at every turn for well over 10 minutes and then they take all this epic feeling to its logical conclusion with the almost 14 minute 'The Secret War.' This monster closing tune sums up everything great about this band and album in the one epic piece of music. The hypnotic vibe at times is inspiring, the atmosphere electrifying, and the band simply sounds huge. After the 69 minutes is over with it, it is hard to listen to anything else for the day. There is in my opinion only 2 other albums released in 2011 that can match it within the realms of traditional doom metal and I will let you guess who those two are.

Seeing as this has been released so late in the year, it will most likely miss out on a lot of top 10 lists for 2011 but it will feature highly on mine anyway. Cardinals Folly have found their sound and perfected their style and their songwriting. Their musicianship is excellent and the production on this album is flawless. This is for fans of Candlemass, Lord Vicar, Wounded Kings, Procession, Count Raven, Black Sabbath, Reverend Bizarre, and other trad-doom masters. Also if the lead work of My Dying Bride sends chills up your spine, you too will love what this band does on 'Such Power is Dangerous.' Without a doubt, this album is in the top 5 best album releases of the year. It is captivating and crushing right up to the last awe-inspiring note. Buy it!!! .............10/10.