Cardinal Wyrm “Devotionals” [Self Release]
Absolutely killer cassette from this Bay Area trio with heavy experience in other projects, particularly due to the presence of Leila Abdul-Rauf (this is the first CW release added to KFJC to feature her). Released deep into pandemic year one (Dec. 2020), it asks, “Do we have another battle left in us?” Doom-laced, soaked in driving riffs, and peppered with a few straight-up guitar solos. And yet this sound is very distinct and unlike other stuff I’ve been reviewing lately. Unconventional vocal stylings: mostly clean, eccentric passages from drummer Pranjal Tiwari, like a possessed town crier reading from an occult scroll cut with ghoulish whispers. Abdul-Rauf brings a guitarist’s perspective to her bass guitar work. The sound is agile as it plays off Nathan Verrill’s guitar. All the pieces really start to fit on tracks like “Imposter”—great intro, building structures, ideal lyric content for the vocal stylings, vocal contrast from with an ethereal Abdul-Rauf addition, but most satisfying to my ears is the range of sounds Abdul-Rauf generates from the bass. In “Canticle” Abdul-Rauf provides vocals reminiscent of her work in both Vastum and Saros, like a compilation album jammed into a song. I’m probably going to play this thing to death on my show.
you heard it 15 times on kfjc! most recently:
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