This is one of the hardest questions in all the doomly realm to answer: “Where do I start with Cathedral?” The reason it’s so hard is because the UK outfit, led by vocalist Lee Dorrian and guitarist Gary “Gaz” Jennings, vary so much from album to album. Even up to this year’s The Guessing Game, Cathedral have constantly kept their sound in flux, from their death/doom beginnings all the way to the ’70s prog experimentation of the latest offering. There’s a good chance it’ll rock, but beyond that, you never know what you’re going to get from a Cathedral record.
Which brings us around to the question at hand. Where to start with Cathedral depends almost entirely on what you’re looking for from the band. They veered into stonerisms arguably most on Supernatural Birth Machine, and were at their invariably most doomed on their first album, 1991′s Forest of Equilibrium. The 2001/2002 duo of albums, Endtyme and VIIth Coming, were heavy but not as memorable, and 2005′s The Garden of Unearthly Delights was solid and had a couple standout tracks, but not necessarily groundbreaking in its blend of influences.
For that reason, I think 1995′s The Carnival Bizarre is the place to start. It’s the first full-length on which Dorrian and Jennings were joined by bassist Leo Smee and drummer Brian Dixon, and it saw them begin to work away from the deathly presence of Forest of Equilibrium and 1993′s The Ethereal Mirror, and with tracks like “Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)” and the Tony Iommi-infused “Utopian Blaster,” it’s bound to leave an impression on you when you hear it. In terms of meshing production and style, plus the performances of the band at their best and most innovative, it’s the way to go.
Agreements? Arguments? Any The Ethereal Mirror fans want to give me the business? Well, that’s why there are comments. Have at it.
Tags: Cathedral, UK