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Cardinal Noire – S.T. | Review by Vox Empirea

The two interpreters of the Finnish platform Cardinal Noire come from the autochthonous industrial-metal scene: Kalle Lindberg, the front man, in 1997 he founded with the guitarist Lasse W424 Alander the project called The Republic Of Desire. Further on, in 2005, Kalle oriented its interest towards the typical Canadian electronic sound of Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly, introducing in it the synthpopish stylistic features of Depeche Mode and the goth-rock elements of Fields Of The Nephilim, establishing in Lappeenranta the electro / industrial solo-act known as Protectorate – of which Lasse is live-member – through which he published in 2012 the self-produced EP of four tracks titled “Come Fall”. At the same time, by reacting the logic processes of softwares with the physicality of hardware instrumentations, Kalle (vox / additional production) and Lasse (synths / production / backing vox) generated the Cardinal Noire, totally restricting their music inside the electro / EBM / industrial sound, then coming in contact with EK Product: and it was precisely through this renowned Italian label that the duo fired in 2015 a great release now analyzed by Vox Empirea, the namesake digipak debut-album “Cardinal Noire” composed of nine songs: for this release the power duo recruited in the line-up a third member as additional synthesizer-vocalist marked with the effigy Erich 2.

The full-length keeps all the ruthlessness, the hardness, the darkness and the annihilator power of industrial-metal, to which they combine dramatic atmospheres, vocal aggressiveness, an energetic danceability and the glacial perfection of sonic technology. “Venom – The kognitiiv Dissidenz” plays the role of ‘opener’, spreading initially ethereal pads, mysterious whispers and hazy symphonies, interrupted by dark and austere electronic sediments on which they fall with martiality the mighty scans of drumming. “Narkomat” directly expresses the prerogatives which constitute the repertoire of Cardinal Noire, or harsh, threatening, alienating vocalizations, inserted in an equally monolithic electro / EBM / industrial context of synths, cosmic-effects and geometric midtempo percussiveness.

The keyboard process turbid orchestrations, while rabid vocals terrify the senses, merging with the midtempo automatism of drum-programming and with the dark flows created by machines, all this in “MKIV – Eternal”, an EBM / industrial track cold and imposing like a wall of ice. The visionary surrealism of “A New Form Of Machinery” takes shape by a disturbing turbines of Electronic Body Music and industrial acoustics, which procedures are literally flayed by the abrasive Kalle’s chant and by lunar pads that wrap entirely the mechanical, slow drum -programming beats. “White Dust” is a symphony for post-nuclear landscapes: its dark-electronics / dark-industrial schemes originate a growing vortex in which they swirl solemn keyboard emissions, metal echoes, sinister-guttural vocals and soldierly drumming, in a sonic mass within which they spectrally rise the dense mists of the synth, the austere organ sections and the segmentations of programming. “Flagellant” is a violent delirium in which they alternate rigid EBM modulations and the murderous insanity of industrial-metal, all this designed in its first act through uptempo rhythms of drum sequencing, electronic interferences, synth fluctuation and malevolent vocals, whose structures, after concise interludes, they are wildly devasted by a storm of hypersonic rolling drumbeats, guitar saturations and rough techno-noises. The drum-machine fractionates vigorous midtempo bpm’s in an assault acrimonious voices, expansion-verticalizations of keyboard obscured by toxic frequencies and rhythmic asymmetries of programming: is what happens in a dark-electro / EBM / dark-industrial track that sounding chaotically epic, “Black Sustenance”. The anti-gravitational energy of the subsequent “Purgation” launches the sound in an electronically hallucinated, infernal dimension, built through a background of harsh-effects on which they alternate melodies full of otherworldly forces, percussive disconnections, a dark, marmoreal orchestra of synths and urticant vox transfigurations. Then we come to the epilogue, “Mirror Shards”, a dark-electro / EBM / industrial song of enormous imposingness conceived in two distinct periods: the first one, long introductory, it artificially and obsessively extends slow drum-beats, sequenced punctuations, iron and hostile vocals, contaminated by the impurities of keyboard, as well as the second one is a leaden, frantic transmission of disarticulated rhythmical waves, lines of drum-programming, caustic irradiation of synths and inhuman vocalizations, a terrifying Apocalypse in which they furiously blow currents of electronic winds.

The balanced distribution of power and singing violence, in conjunction with experimental technicalities, claustrophobic states, perversion and oxidized harmonies, they increase the level of involvement that continues unceasingly during the entire tracklist. Enveloping acoustics and inflexible percussiveness drag the listener into an abyss of heavy frost, while perturbations of supernatural noise haunting the unconscious, annulling any possibility of salvation and exerting an irresistible, authoritarian charm. This album is lethal: it brings out the deepest anguishes, lacerating sorely the substrates of psyche and poisoning it until its complete dissolution, all this topped by a thundering sound that will impress eternally in your memory, upsetting your nights, disquieting your souls. Cardinal Noire are unique and unparalleled: it will take decades of electro-music to equal their skill.