The delightfully deviant and dysfunctional Cardinals Folly have been brewing their particularly potent and addictive brand of Finnish doom music for the past 10 years or so. Deranged Pagan Sons is their fourth album and if low slung Sabbath like riffs tickle your coccyx then you won’t find much to dislike here.
This is a real dusty denims album with its proverbial heart and soul set firmly back in the late 60s or early 70s. With its horror inspired mantra aligned to the Hammer Horror camp, Cardinals Folly explore all the familiar shifting tectonic plates of early doom, including of course the occult and all that goes with it.
There’s nothing convoluted or complicated about Deranged Pagan Sons. There’s no appetite for pomposity from this amiable Finnish triumvirate, just a steady stream of warm and engaging songs.
Bass playing vocalist Mikko Kääriäinen has a great voice for a doom band, the line-up completed with the no less significant contributions of Juho Kilpelä (guitar) and Joni Takkunen (drums).
The eight songs that make up Deranged Pagan Sons all come endorsed with a gratifyingly healthy furball of fuzzed up distortion that helps generate that delicious DIY old school feel. ‘Worship Her Fire’ is an up tempo opening volley that rockets along at a tasty rate of knots, momentum building to good affect while Mikko’s bold and charismatic tones bring depth and definition to the track.
‘Dionysian’ has some rifling riffage that floors you from the off and Cardinals Folly then keep the flame alive with a relentless rhythm of finely crafted grooves. The album’s title track is initially more restrained but before long the fret work starts to quicken, Joni gets serious with the drums and a sky high solo delivers some additional layers to the song dynamic.
‘The Island Where Time Stands Still’ opens reticently with some somnambulant unaccompanied guitar work before the three peaks of Cardinals Folly slowly merge into one. This is certainly a softer song than most on the album with Mikko’s melancholic reflections painting a sorrowful soundscape against some wonderfully emotive spiralling guitar work.
Penultimate number ‘I Belong in the Woods’ is another moody moment, again carried along by a mid-paced groove that ebbs and flows like the tide. Mikko has license to explore its contours with his slow beefy steps weaving through the gently manoeuvring sonic shades. At eight-and-a-half-minutes, album closer ‘Secret of the Runes’ brings things to a satisfying close with a vibrant nod in the direction of Valhalla and the Norsemen of the apocalypse.