Cardinal Sin was formed by John Zwetsloot, in 1994, after leaving
Dissection. He was joined by Magnus "Devo" Andersson and Joakim Göthberg, previously of Marduk. By 1996, they recorded the
Spiteful Intents E.P. To date, this is their one and only release. The style is not
far removed from the early material from Dissection, possessing a similar style of composition and arrangement. This is best
described as melodic black metal, but with some death metal influences.
"Spiteful Intent" begins with an acoustic piece
that also features some clean spoken word part in the background. The atmosphere is very calm and serene, suddenly building
to an explosive release. The cold tremolo melodies and blasting drums are accompanied by very raspy vocals. The atmosphere
is not as Black as on The Somberlain, for example, but it never strays into Lunar Strain territory either. There is some use of overdubbed vocals, with the higher-pitched
style joined by a deeper growl. This effect is ephemeral, thankfully. There's some interested solo work, as well, showing
Zwetsloot's classical background.
The next song is "Probe With A Quest", and it begins with a brief open-arpeggio riff
that creates a dismal feeling, before transitioning to a more epic riff, that builds a majestic and sorrowful aura. The main
riff could have, easily, fit a Dissection album, though the drumming isn't nearly as tight as that of Ole Öhman. By the middle
of the song, things slow down and the feeling is more sombre. The mournful melodies sweep over you like frozen winds, before
shifting back to the main mid-paced thrash riff. The final moments have a rather epic vibe going on.
Sin" follows this, breaking the serene feeling with thrashier riffs and faster drumming. There is a heightened sense of urgency,
though I wouldn't exactly say this is terribly intense. It's more straight-forward than the previous songs, and shorter as
a result. There are some decent riffs here, but it makes one wonder how this material would have sounded in Zwetsloot's prior
band, as it seems to be lacking something. It's not bad, by any means, but it doesn't feel complete in some way.
E.P. ends with the brief classical guitar piece, "Language of Sorrow". As the title would suggest, the feeling is somewhat
introspective and bleak. It's much in the same vein as "Crimson Towers", from The Somberlain,
and serves as a fitting way to end this release.
All in all, there's nothing terribly groundbreaking or essential here.
While it's solid material and is of particular interest of those who wish to follow what John Zwetsloot did after leaving
Dissection, it simply cannot compare with that godly band (then again, few things can). It's worth picking up, if you get
(27 Jan. 2010)
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