If you are into doom, stoner, or sludge metal and you don't know who Cathedral is, you fail at life. For the sonically impaired, Cathedral are one of the progenitors of the modern doom and stoner metal movement. They have released some of the most enjoyable records of these genres in their lengthy existence. Their first album, Forest of Equilibrium is perhaps the most morose, depressing, mind numbing music by which ears could ever be assaulted. After some line-up changes over the last couple of records, long time bassist, Leo Smee, and drummer, Brian Dixon, rejoined Gaz Jennings and Lee Dorrian to create their latest (and first for Nuclear Blast) album, Garden of Unearthly Delights. All I can say about this album is, wow. VIIth Coming was an enjoyable album, but this one is leaps and bounds stronger. They pull a few old tricks out of the bag as well as one very big new trick.
As a band that has produced eight studio albums, Cathedral has the added danger of being stale or pushing too hard in order to stay relevant. It comes with the territory of being an active band for such a long time. But, with Garden of Unearthly Delights, they manage to blast out some really good tunes and take some giant steps in new directions. "North Berwick Witch Trials" is a great song in the traditional Cathedral vein. It has an awesome main riff and a kind of catchy vocal performance. "Upon Azraels' Wings" almost plumbs the depths of desolate doom that proliferated the band's first album. It does not match the intensity of that record, but they still show off some of their older ticks. There is even a jazzy interlude in the song that is reminiscent of Bloodlet circa The Seraphim Fall. "Corpsecycle" is my favorite song on the whole record. It has another great main riff, and the vocals are pretty awesome and super catchy. "Beneath the Funereal Sun" is another good song. There are several spots where there is a unique and catchy rhythm in the track. The poppy part is surprising to hear, and the little kid vocals are damn disturbing.
"The Garden" is a short of 27 minutes (26:58 to be exact) behemoth of a track that features guest musicians and vocalists galore. It is a heady accomplishment for the band. IT sounds like a bunch of shorter songs jammed into one track. The lyrics are the joining factor that holds the song together. It is an all out beast. There is some very worthwhile ideas going on all throughout the song, but it can be difficult to get through some parts.
Cathedral's Garden of Unearthly Delights is a good record for long time fans of them. Long time fans of the band should not be disappointed. This is a good entry into the Cathedral catalog. "Corpsecycle" and "North Berwick Witch Trials" are damn fine songs that are great to listen toÃ¢â¬Â¦And oh yeah, the CD is a scratch and sniff apple. If your CD player gets hot, the scent of apples can possibly be experienced.
7.0 / 10
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