Cardinal Wyrm - Black Hole Gods (Own Label)

A solid slab of doom...

This album came out in the beginning of August, so I’m rather slow on the uptake this time around. However, good doom metal moves at a glacial pace and I’d like to think that I’m paying homage to the spirit of the genre by reviewing this a month or so late.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Late or no, Cardinal Wyrm’s second full length effort, Black Hole Gods, is certainly worthy of a few more attentive listeners being turned onto it. The album itself contains an interesting mix of styles that wouldn’t necessarily be apparent with a cursory listen. The thick, fuzzed out riffs suggest traditional doom of the Sabbathian variety, however the pace often slows to the melancholic crawl of Scandinavian doom acts, not to mention the elements of noise rock that pop up here and there. And was that an organ I just heard? There’s definitely a bit more to this record hiding under the surface.

Take for example the monolithic 12 and a half minute long Born in a Barren Land that lurches by at a hypnotic pace before simmering away into the next track, Warden of the Swans. Warden... is a curious little piece containing only organs, bass and vocalist Pranjal Tiwari’s haunted bellows, it conjures up images of forbidden rituals being undertaken at haunted churches, and it definitely fulfils the album’s spooky atmosphere quota. This isn’t the only deviation from conventional doom norms, the band also tinkers with faster tempos and harsher vocals in places, taking the album into far more sludgy territory.

The fact that Cardinal Wyrm is able to insert these little compositional turns stops the album from being one long slow lurch to the finish line and is perhaps the bands greatest strength. Top all of that off with a robust yet still murky production and you have yourself a strong slab of doom on your hands.

Black Hole Gods is out now.