Basically, Hertfordshire-based rockers Kardinal X have the bones of a pretty good album here; When they keep things tight and punchy, as they do on tracks like Dark Light, they keep energy levels high and consequently the listener is energised by John Kane‘s urgent drumming which propels the track nicely.
However, too often they let the mind wander by allowing tracks to meander well past their optimum duration; A track like Heretic, second up here and in a spot on the album’s running order that should be helping to build momentum and excitement, doesn’t need to be seven and a half minutes long, and it seems occasionally that the band have fallen into the Iron Maiden trap of equalling ‘progressive’ with ‘songs that are too long for their own good’. Not many bands have the ability to consistently lock in a listener past the five and a half minute mark, and a bit of self-editing never hurt anybody.
The Plot has a whiff of Queensrÿche about it – if they were fronted by Saxon‘s Biff Byford rather than Geoff Tate – but again feels overlong and in need of tightening up; obviously Kardinal X are a small band in the grand scheme of things, and not the benefactors of major label recording budgets, and I don’t want this review to come off as designed to give the band a kicking, as it isn’t – but a band that can clearly deliver the goods musically and vocally deserves a bit of help from a producer in terms of dotting the studio Is and Ts, especially in terms of beefing up the impact of Jimi James‘ vocals.
Fans of Metallica will enjoy the riffy It Always Rains, and as noted at the top of this review there is definite evidence that this band has the ability to carve a niche for itself within the trad metal genre; Let’s hope they get a little bit of luck and the patronage of someone with the ability to help them achieve their goals and do just that in the near future.
The Revolution is out now.