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ⓘ Cathedral (band)




Cathedral (band)
                                     

ⓘ Cathedral (band)

Cathedral were a doom metal band from Coventry, England. The group gained attention upon release of its debut album, Forest of Equilibrium, which is considered a classic of the genre. However, the bands sound evolved quickly and began to adopt characteristics of 1970s metal, hard rock and progressive rock. After releasing ten full-length albums and touring extensively for over two decades, Cathedral broke up after the release of The Last Spire in 2013.

                                     

1.1. History Early history 1989–1991

In 1989, Lee Dorrian left Napalm Death because he was reportedly tiring of the punk scene and did not like the death metal direction which Napalm Death was taking. Cathedral was formed after Lee Dorrian and Mark Griffiths a Carcass roadie met and discussed their love for bands like Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Pentagram, Trouble, and Witchfinder General. The band was founded in 1989 by Dorrian, Griffiths and Garry Jennings formerly of thrash metal band Acid Reign. Dorrian was the only founding member to remain with Cathedral for its duration, although Jennings departure ultimately proved to be temporary. Cathedral released The Forest of Equilibrium through Earache. According to Dorian, only Winter or Autopsy were doing something similar, sound-wise, at the time.

                                     

1.2. History The Columbia years 1992–1994

After the release of the Soul Sacrifice EP, Cathedral signed with Columbia. That enabled the successful two-month Campaign for Musical Destruction Tour in the US. Cathedrals experience on Columbia was described by Dorrian as "surreal". As Dorrian explained,

We weren’t deliberately trying to be pop stars or anything like that, so playing that game just felt very surreal. We werent exactly comfortable with it. We were an underground band one minute and the next minute they were trying to present us as the next Black Crowes. Can you imagine recording Forest of Equilibrium and a major label wanted to sign you on the strength of that? It was fairly bizarre. I guess heavy music was reaching some kind of pinnacle back then. Death metal had reached its pinnacle back then – at least its creative pinnacle so maybe they saw us as being the next step after that.

Cathedrals major label debut, The Ethereal Mirror, was noted by Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic for its experimentation, upbeat tempos, and groove-laden guitar riffs. After releasing The Ethereal Mirror in 1993, Cathedral was dropped by Columbia the following year.

                                     

1.3. History Back to Earache 1995-2001

The band resumed its relationship with Earache Records, which lasted until 2001. During this time, Cathedral released four full-length albums that continued to explore faster rhythms and 1970s-hard rock-influenced guitar riffs before returning to a relatively slow cadence for Endtyme in 2001.

                                     

1.4. History Switching labels 2002–2010

Cathedral signed with Spitfire Records and released The VIIth Coming. After releasing a single album on Spitfire, Cathedral signed to Nuclear Blast for their final three albums. These albums included the "inspired" and "quirky" but "uneven" The Garden of Unearthly Delights, the double-disc The Guessing Game, which was touted as the "most psychedelic, progressive material in the bands entire catalog" and the "true doom" of the bands farewell album, The Last Spire.

                                     

1.5. History The Last Spire and split 2011–present

While Cathedral had contemplated disbanding in the past, most recently after the release of The Garden of Unearthly Delights in 2006, on 6 February 2011, Cathedral announced that they would disband after the release of The Last Spire in April 2013. Dorrian explained that "Its simply time for us to bow out. Twenty one years is a very long time and its almost a miracle that we managed to come this far!" Cathedral played their last show in Perth, Western Australia during the Soundwave 2012 tour.

Shortly before the release of The Last Spire, Dorrian told Noisecreep that there will never be a Cathedral reunion, and called that idea "absolutely stupid." Guitarist Gaz Jennings added that chances of a Cathedral reunion are "very, very slim", and that he "just cant see" it happening in the future. He also stated that Dorrian has "moved on" and does not want to be involved in a reunion.

Three out of four of the final members of Cathedral reformed the band Septic Tank not soon after Cathedrals break up.



                                     

2. Style

Cathedrals releases have been marked by sharp shifts in style. While Forest of Equilibrium was firmly entrenched in a slow, heavy doom sound, elements of 1970s metal and groovier riffs entered its sound beginning with the Soul Sacrifice EP. By the time that The Ethereal Mirror was released, the band had incorporated references to 1970s music, such as the disco influences heard on "Midnight Mountain".

As Dorrian explains, the bands original sound was a product of the immediate musical environment combined with the band members influences:

When we first started, the music of Cathedral was a lot more extreme than it is now, a lot more morose and depressing, because thats how we felt at the time. Wed all come out of the death metal scene, or the grindcore scene or whatever, and I was just as much into the slower stuff as I was into the faster stuff. I just wanted to do something a bit different, so we took all our influences like Vitus and Pentagram and the Obsessed and stuff and decided to take that kind of music one step further, bring it into the 90s, make it more extreme, more heavy and downtuned than any of those bands had done before. That was our first and foremost ambition, and I think we probably achieved that when we did our first album.

Beginning with the Soul Sacrifice EP, the band began to incorporate a diverse array of 1970s influences into its sound. With 2001s Endtyme, Cathedral re-introduced the slower, doomy elements that had not been as prevalent on its previous four albums.

The Guessing Game represented another development in the bands sound, with Cathedrals progressive and psychedelic influences coming to the forefront. For Dorrian, the albums direction was a result of the fact that:

This time on the record it seemed like weve come to the point where we feel confident enough to bring these influences to the fore. Because we also feel that weve got nothing to lose as well, after all this time. Weve got nothing to prove as much as weve got nothing to lose. I just think we went for it, we didnt really think too hard about what the consequences would be, but I don’t think we went stupidly too far into the realms of progressive rock myself, its just the right balance between that and everything else that the bands about.

Remarking on Cathedrals penchant for evolving its sound, Dorrian said:

I just think it’s important for a band like us, if we have all these influences and aspects of things we like, to be a bit more adventurous and make it interesting for ourselves as much as the audience. It might confuse a lot of people, I understand that, but that’s not a deliberate intention at all. We just want to make good music to the best of our abilities. We’re not the most musical band in the world, I admit that. We just want to push ourselves and stretch ourselves and contain an element of freedom of expression in our sound. I guess that’s why we look back on a lot of older bands, because they were so unrestricted, and things are too restricted and categorized these days. If you think about a band like Cathedral, how would you categorize us? I don’t know. I don’t know what box you could put us in, and that’s something I’m quite happy with. Try and put me in a box and I jump out of it.



                                     

3. Members

Final line-up

  • Garry Jennings - guitars 1989–2013, bass 1993–1994, keyboards 1994–1996
  • Lee Dorrian - vocals 1989–2013
  • Scott Carlson - bass 2011–2013; touring 1995
  • Brian Dixon - drums 1994–2013

Former members

  • Mark Griffiths - bass 1989–1993, guitars 1989
  • Mike Smail - drums 1991-1992
  • Adam Lehan - guitars 1989–1994
  • Andy Baker – drums 1989
  • Leo Smee - bass 1994–2011
  • Ben Mochrie - drums 1989-1991
  • Mark Ramsey Wharton - drums 1992–1994, keyboards 1992

Live musicians

  • Barry Stern - drums 1994-1995
  • Victor Griffin - guitars 1994
  • Joe Hasselvander - drums 1994
  • Dave Hornyak - drums 1995
  • Max Edwards - bass 2003–2004

. Lo Polidoro - Female Vocalist 2006

                                     

4. Discography

  • The Ethereal Mirror 1993
  • The Guessing Game 2010
  • The VIIth Coming 2002
  • The Last Spire 2013
  • Endtyme 2001
  • The Carnival Bizarre 1995
  • Supernatural Birth Machine 1996
  • Caravan Beyond Redemption 1998
  • Forest of Equilibrium 1991
  • The Garden of Unearthly Delights 2005
                                     
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