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Cathedral | VIIth Coming | review | stoner | rock | metal | Lollipop

Cathedral

The VIIth Coming (Spitfire)
by Brian Varney

The last Cathedral release I heard was In Memoriam, a tortuous sludgepile of unreleased early demos that just about turned my blood to molasses. I've heard and liked earlier albums like Carnival Bizarre and Supernatural Birth Machine, which were much more song-based and musical than that collection, so when this arrived in the mailbox, I was hoping for something along those lines, which indeed it is.

The VIIth Coming is full of heavy guitar riffs sure to satisfy the doom punters, but I don't remember the earlier stuff being quite this, well, groovy. The tempos jump along nicely, with some side-to-side motion even, and the tastefully deployed acoustic guitar and organ parts give this a nice '74 classic rock feeling without sacrificing the crush quotient. The best example of this balance is the eight-and-a-half-minute "The Empty Mirror," which begins as a wicked, melodic, mid-tempo classic rocker, abruptly downshifting to a doom-laden near-halt around the halfway point, and then, the doom monster satisfied, kicks back into the rock for the song's final minute. Slower, moodier numbers like "Aphrodite's Winter" are rife with the sort of morbid solemnity and Gothic atmosphere you'd expect from a band named "Cathedral" without reducing themselves to the suffocating torpor of, say, Type O Negative. There's just too much rock 'n' roll in The VII Coming for that to happen, and that's A-OK with me.
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