Saturday, 3 September 2016

Cardinals Folly / Church of Void / Acolytes of Moros - Coalition of the Anathematized split (2016) / 85%

The Forsberg/Selanne coalition

The members of the coalition and the tracklist are as followed:

Cardinals Folly
1) Hyperborean 4:53
2) A Slave of Karnstein 5:53

Church of Void
3) Night’s Watch 5:43
4) Moonstone 8:06

Acolytes of Moros
5) The World Belongs to Demons 14:22

Useful links:
Album released by American Lines Prods

The split album on Bandcamp

This coalition of Nordic bands truly hits the spot and shows how different traditional doom can be. I’m using “Nordic” and not “Scandinavian” since there’s some geographical and historical debates going on about whether Finland is truly part of this European region or not. As a social sciences teacher, I do think the home of Teemu Selanne is Scandinavian despite their unique language and their cultural ties to the now deceased Soviet union. Still, doom is an international affair and truly transcends the frontiers created by us mere mortals.

The two Finnish bands, Cardinals Folly (I wrote a review of their 2016 full length here: click me) from Helsinki and Church of Void from Jyväskylä (I love this language) are similar in their groove first and ask questions later approaches to trad doom. They’re both hard rocking bands but with different aesthetics. The two bands are both exploring fantasy themes but they have divergent approaches. The Cardinals have this bigger than life pulp/classic horror literature persona while the Church are A Song of Ice and Fire fans (see their track “Nights Watch” or “Winter Is Coming” from their debut album). While I wanted the Church song “Moonstone” to be about Clefairy but it’s probably about something much darker!

Cardinals Folly
The tracks of Cardinals Folly have a fairly disappointing guitar tone, the rhythms are off and it’s too overly fuzzy for my taste but the compositions are as good as on their latest album. The power trio offers two strong and catchy tracks, one in the purest hyperborean tradition but mixed with a contemporary viewpoint on how technology ruins everything (if I understood the lyrics correctly) and one about the book Carmilla (I guess I’ll have to ask Howie Bentley if their analysis is solid as I’ve never read it myself). The band cites Saint Vitus in their first track and yep, we’re not too far from the Americans but it’s cruder and probably less serious. They have this huge bass tone, loud and great vocals and an appreciation for Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols. Nevertheless, they’re not a groundbreaking nor essential doom band but they're enjoyable and their style has to be admired.


Church of Void

Church of Void are super groovy but they’re more laid back and they often take their time to crush. Compared to Cardinals Folly, they’re perhaps more in line with the witchcraft-esque scene of today. They also have some slight stoner/doom tendencies but avoid the trite stereotypes of the genre there's some Cathedral influences here and there.

No gear worship here even if their sound is particularly solid and their two guitars gives them some leeway and perhaps more options. This split also made me revisit their debut and I liked it more than before, they’re a band playing an immediate sort of doom but it took me some time to appreciate their pretty distinctive approach. Magus Corvus’ vocals are a bit too buried but he’s a solid clean and gritty singer who brings an 80s goth rock flair to the songs (the introduction of “Night’s Watch”) and has the necessary charisma to be the frontman of this solid band.

The quintet has the right balance between slow, mid-paced and faster material. Fortunately they're excellent at whatever speed they choose to drive. 


Acolytes of Moros

The Swedish band Acolytes of Moros delivered only one track but it’s a long one. Longer than the two songs from their latest fantastic and criminally overlooked and ignored demo released last year (review here: click again), “The World Belongs to Demons” (annoying demons?) is a fourteen minutes infernal dirge of tremendous quality. Christoffer’s vocals are haunting, tenebrous and often walks into poorly lit black metal avenues at times (he had a black solo project some years ago). The lyrics written by a common friend are, from what I gathered, are about the woes of depression. The lengthy numbers drags and drags in the best way possible, it’s repetitive and simple but that’s how I like it. The production is also better than on Herald of the Imminent, everything is clearer and heavier.

Thick bass lines, heavy slow riffs and “shit man you gotta go see the shrink” lyrics are what you’re getting here and I want you to love it. I'm happy that I managed not to compare them to Reverend Bizarre so far but I guess I have to. They're perhaps their best acolyte (yeah yeah!) alongside The Wandering Mid get and they hold the flame of sad operatic lengthened doom high.


All in all, this is a quality split and it keeps getting better and better as it kept the best band to conclude the album. Long live Scandinavian (or Nordic or whatever!) doom metal.

The three bands are gonna play some dates together including this one in Finland. I'm posting it because the poster rules and I'd like to be there!

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