Sunday Old School: British Doom Metal Legends Cathedral
A few weeks ago, we took a look at British grindcore legends Napalm Death and saw that several bands related to them have become legends in their own right. This week we take a look at one of these bands, in the form of Lee Dorrian's legendary doom metal outfit Cathedral. Cathedral were formed in Coventry, in the Midlands area of England in 1989 but had already earned a degree of underground fame as the bands lead vocalist Lee Dorrian had been the singer of Napalm Death beforehand and guitarist Garry Jennings was previously a member of British thrash metal outfit Acid Reign, who had reached the number ten spot on the U.K. Indie album charts with their debut album, "The Fear." The band were much different from their associated acts and were more inspired from the slower metal bands such as The Obsessed and Black Sabbath than Motorhead and Kreator. After recruiting bass player Mark Griffiths (a Carcass roadie) and drummer Mike Smail, the band recorded their first album, "Forest Of Equilibrium" which is now regarded as a classic in the genre of doom metal. The album featured extremely slow and long songs, which took fans of the British underground scene by complete surprise at the time and left the band with a mixed reception when they performed shows with the likes of Entombed, Carcass and Confessor.
The band followed this impressive debut with "The Ethereal Mirror" (which had a number of working titles including "Decadence and Journey Into Jade) in 1993 and once again received critical acclaim, with some media refering to the band as "the next big thing in metal." The album also saw the band experiment more with their sound, fusing a stoner rock influence with their doom laden grind. The album also produced two music videos in the shape of "Ride" and "Midnight Mountain" which received some negative feedback from fans as they were quite light hearted in nature. The band took on two new members after this release, with bass player Leo Smee and drummer Brian Dixon and released yet another outstanding album on September 26th 1995 in the form of "The Carnival Bizzare." The album featured the song, "Hopkins (Witchfinder General)" which has become one of the bands best known songs and a staple of their live set. The song also received a music video that included clips from the Vincent Price movie "Witchfinder General" as well as the band performing in a tongue in cheek fasion. The album also boasted a guest guitar solo from Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi on the song, "Utopian Blaster."
Cathedral have continued to tour the world and record albums ever since and have cemented their place as true legends in the field of doom and stoner metal by releasing more well received albums such as "Caravan Beyond Redemption" and "The VIIth Coming." Fans of the band are expecting 2010 to be another great year for Cathedral when they release a new studio album entitled, "The Guessing Game" in March, which likely include a world tour to help promote the record. Doom on!
Cathedral - "Ebony Tears"
Cathedral - "Autumn Twilight"
Cathedral - "Midnight Mountain"
Cathedral - "Hopkins (Witchfinder General)"
Cathedral - "Stained Glass Horizon"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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