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Cardinal Wyrm album review – Cast Away Souls

Underground doom with some delectable sonic twists from Cardinal Wyrm

Cardinal Wyrm album cover

Plunging straight away into a rainy funeral procession riff shadowed by spooky Hammond, this excellently-named Bay Area trio take in many of doom’s underground permutations, and much else besides.

Fuzzy, strung-out chords bang into waterlogged death metal riffs and break down into dark instrumental wig-out passages, echoing with sludge grunts, black shrieks, portentous chants, spoken-word sections and goth croons, arrangements lurching queasily in classic Dream Death fashion.

The Resonant Dead might find favour with anyone who wishes Anathema had taken a few more records to develop the lumbering atmospheres on The Silent Enigma, while Lost Orison’s distant trumpet and medieval campfire feel afford an intriguing interlude between predominating bass-heavy cemetery epics. That’s not to say it’s all orthodox doom business as usual (except perhaps self-explanatory 11-minute closer Soul Devouring Fog); Cardinal Wyrm introduce jittery post-punk arthouse ideas to the crashing metallic churn and possessed lead work of After The Dry Years, their third full-length flirting with a sort of free-range opiated madness that brings to mind Celtic Frost’s ’87 curveball Into The Pandemonium.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.