Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cathedral: "The Last Spire"

This U.K doom band was worshipping Black Sabbath before doom was really much of a thing in 1989, along with Candlemass, Celtic Frost and St. Vitus...yes it back when Pentagram still sounded like Kiss. Lee Dorian left Napalm Death because they were making the transition from punk to death metal that he wasn't to happy about. Dorian's vocals on their Debut were a sticking point for me for some reason. I remember thinking he sounded like Scooby Doo, but his approach was not too unlike Celtic Frost's Tom Warrior and on the new album they have improved up to Wino quality. So no Ozzy but making a stab at it.

This is their last album, as they are not sort of act I can imagine they have a hard time making a living in the current industry climate. Compared to the doom of today this really sounds more like stoner rock. It's fairly straight forward when you compare it to a younger band like Pallbearer. Speaking of whom that's the name of the first real song , there an intro thing but you the actual guitars a nd metal sounds begin with this song. The churning chug took its time to grow on me. Dorian benefits from today's production as his drugged sneer benefits from some delay to create the illusion he is not just oddly talking his way through the songs. The female vocals which creep in with an oddly timed accent are certainly a quirky creative touch nd the first of a few that pop up through the course of the album. The songs does take enough twists and turns to justify the eleven minute running time. The chant of "War, famine, drought, disease" doesn't really do a helluva lot for me but the song balances itself out. There is an acoustic interlude and a tempo change which creates a greater sense of dynamics.

Dorian takes another stab at singing on "Cathedral of the Damned" is more of a stacatto shout like what Tom Ayraya might do on something mid tempo. There is a spoken section that sounds like what Iggy does in Balck Sunshine for White Zombie, so it could be Iggy again or Rollins or Randy Blythe or Phil Anselmo for that matter. It's a pretty straight forward song , yet the chorus gets stuck in my head despite its lack of melody so they are doing something right and working wi what they have got. It slows down into some'ore menacing for "Tower of Silence" it shuffles into a more solid groove, the riffs are thick and metal any way you take a sword to them so it's hard to dislike them. I'm not sure how the younger metal heads will take to the vocals as they are not quite sung by not growled either and kids these days don't think something is metal unless it's screamed In some fashion.

Its slows down to the speed of rigor Mortis setting in on "Infestation of Grey Death" the vocals turn in a more Celtic frost direction in the phrasing though when he tries to sing actual note she sounds like Wino. The change in the vocals on the second verse don't flow as well. The guitar in parts picks out the chords like the song Seasons in the Abyss. I remember when they came out in 89 thinking the album felt weird and it still does though a little more familiar of a feeling. The drums when they build into double bass stay away from getting thrash, though their is an aggressive stomp to it.

"An Observation" darkens things with a descent into a string section. When the band kicks back in it has more punch and proves very effective. The effects on Dorian's work really . The odd section where everything drops out from under the guitar is really different and makes the transition even more powerful than the first. The really weird angular proggy section totally comes unexpectated. The keyboard solo pops out of nowhere. I had to check my iPod and see if it switched bands by mistake. The heavier riff in the last minute is pretty cool as well, I wouldn't call it trash as how the bass amd drum pound at a slower pace behind it.

"This Body thy Tomb" toils out with the ring of another dirge. The lyrics are vaguely interesting even if the song does plod a bit. the song takes a turn for the sentimental before the four minute mark. The harmony guitar solo is a nice touch but not really wowing anyone. The soundscape that follows is hereof and gives them more bang for their buck when they bust back in. They do hang on the riff a bit excessively and don't build it up to really go any where but jam land.

Overall they aren't looking to upset Voi Vod's come back on this one, the doom riffs sound food as does the album as a whole, but these guy have been in the game for sometime so quality product should go with out saying.I will go ahead and give this an 8 because when they hit it they does so in a pretty spectacular manner I don't remember them sounding Thisn good back in the day, so the maturation of age and the willingness to experiment with different sounds plays into their favor here. Who kows which way this one will grow me.

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