Cathedral - Forest of Equilibrium (Earache Records) 1991
1. "Picture of Beauty
& Innocence " [Intro] (1:07)
Bring on the dooooom! "Forest of Equilibrium" was to be the debut of one of doom metal's most respected bands, Cathedral. The music is somber, dark, and of course slow. It's almost bizarre thinking that vocalist Lee Dorrian worked with Napalm Death prior to this release. His signature growl was almost funny on "Scum" but works so well here. Rather than a deathly growl, however, Dorrian sings in a haunting, gritty, bellow. Most of the songs here are of epic length save for the intro and the short, upbeat metal monster "Soul Sacrifice". Despite their length and slow speed, the songs never get boring thanks to some heavy, distorted guitar riffs, creative songwriting and even a flute in "Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain". Adam Lehan and Mark Griffiths also offer up some nice soloing. What else needs to be said? Doooom baby, friggin' dooom!
Cathedral - Soul Sacrifice (Earache) 1992
Many a Cathedral fan will argue that this is one of the band's finest releases, and I would tend to agree. This disc, while short, is heavy! The first track is actually a faster version of that which appears in the debut, "Forest of Equilibrium." The original was much slower, but I slightly prefer this more upbeat version. Lee Dorian stylized grunts and groans all the way through the track and fits in perfectly with the bands sound. "Autumn Twilight" is probably the EP's highlight track. This slow, dark and doomy track is exactly what the band is known for creating. "Frozen Rapture" is the slowest number included and sounds as if it could have been a track recorded for a Saint Vitas album. This song is sloooooow. "Golden Blood" is an epic doom track, with a bit of groove that is similar in style to "Autumn Twilight". Overall, "Soul Sacrifice" is twenty five minutes of intoxicating, cold and doomy heavy metal.
Cathedral - The Ethereal Mirror (Earache/Columbia) 1993
1. "Violet Vortex"
Considered by man to the be this band's shining hour. In my opinion, Ethereal Mirror" was leaps and bound better than anything the band had done before. This album is crushingly heavy and the tempos are slightly faster than the band's previous outputs. However, this is still very much doomy and Sabbath inspired. 'Violet Vortex' has a great Sabbath-influenced riff as does the incredibly infectious "Ride". Both tracks, which work togther as what feels like one album opening track, feature upbeat monster grooves that should see get any self respecting headbanger moving. Things really don't sow down much until "Fountain of Innocence" which starts off as a melancholy number before breaking into another monster riff a minute into the song. The entire album is just a feast of metal. From what I have read, the band doesn't really like this album for a variety of reasons, one of which was Columbia Records botching up their management and promotion bof this disc. Apparently the band also felt rushed in writing this album. You'd never know it from listening from a fans perspective. As I see it, this CD rocks and that's what matters.
Cathedral - Hopkins (The Witchfinder General) (Earache) 1996
EPs are usually an excuse to release things that are unlike what would be on a normal full length album. That is certainly the case here. "Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)" features tracks that did not fit on the "Carnival Bizarre" release that proceeded this release. "Hopkins" starts off with a doomy number that is what one might expect from Cathedral; heavy, dark, doom metal. This track was also on "The Carnival Bizarre" as well. "Fire" is also dark and heavy, but this track is a cover of a 1960's classic. Took some research to figure out who originally recorded this song, but it was originally a hit for the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. "Copper Sunset" is a slow instrumental dirge. "Purple Wonderland" is just flat out trippy. The music is mostly made up of keyboards and has an odd techno meets doom feel. Not sure what to make of this bizarre song. "The Devils Summit" is a funky bass driven song complete with Tower of Power-like horns and the word "superfly" actually used in the song. That should give anyone who remember the 70's and idea of what this song sounds like. Probably not the best disc to get yourself acquainted with a band, but I must confess it worked for me. I suppose I actually enjoyed all the experimentation shown on this EP because after hearing it I began searching out other discs by this band.
Cathedral - Supernatural Birth Machine (Earache) 1996
1. "Cybertron 71/Internal
At the time of acquiring this CD, I must admit I was a new fan of Cathedral. In doing some research I was surprised to find that some fans don't find this to be one of the bands better albums. In my opinion this disc is a good, if not great. The music itself is heavy, thick, doom metal. The band sounds loose and raw, without sounding sloppy and under produced, if that makes sense. I was totally captivated by the mid-to-slow paced metal, the distinct vocal melodies and the haunting guitar solos. Lyrically, Cathedra goes for something akin to Voivod, sinking deep into sci-fi themes. I particularly liked "Urko's Conquest," a song that retells the story of Planet of the Apes. Cathedral owe a lot to Black Sabbath on this disc, but then what heavy metal band doesn´t? If this disc is not considered one of the band's best, I can't wait to get hold of one that people rave about, cause this disc is fantastic.
Cathedral - Caravan Beyond Redemption (Earache) 1998
1. "Voodoo Fire"
Caravan Beyond Redemption is an awesome 70 minute trip down roads of doom and retro 70's heavy metal. Of course with any doom band, Black Sabbath comparisons are inevidable, however, "Caravan" doesn't really sound like Sabbath to me. I suppose "stoner rock" is what this type of heavy slidge is labeled, but Cathedral just have far to much groove to be labeled as such. The experiments with bongos and such also add to the appeal. Right at the opening "Voodoo Fire" is absolutely captivating. "Captain Clegg" is like manner is one of the songs that grabbed me by the jugular. This song in particular reminded me of some of Trouble's mid-90's material while at the same time bringing thoughts of Pink Floyd, probably for the title of the song more than for the music itself. Vocalist Lee Dorrian shouts and barks out the lyrics in a rough, but understandable tone. Most of the lyrics seem to be social commentaries, with a few political tidbits thrown in here and there. Can't imagine any fan of doom or 190's heavy metal not enjoying this disc. I know I sure do.
Cathedral - The VIIth Coming (Spitfire) 2002
1. "Phoenix Rising" (3:52)
Cathedral are nothing if not consistent. "The VIIth Coming" is a solid slab of dark, sludgy, crushing doooooom metal. The influences felt throughout this album range from the dark metal of the 80's and 90's, to the keyboards of 1970's bands like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. I suppose some might even label this stoner metal, as it does have it's fair share of groove based moments, but I still hear a whole lot of doom on "The VIIth Coming". The 70's influence can really be heard on one of my favorite tracks from the album, "Aphrodite's Winter". I absolutely love the 70's organ sounds mixed throughout this album. Not much else to add. I can't imagine any doom fan not enjoying this album. I know I do.