Following some vocal problems and changes in personal preference, Napalm Death singer Dorian took the exact opposite tact from his previous stance and with Forest Of Equilibrium delivered an album of drawn-out and slow doom metal. The band's demo was entitled In Memorium and appeared in 1990. The band further had appeared on the Dark Passages doom compilation on Dorian's own Rise Above Records. The initial line-up featured former Acid Reign guitarists Adam Lehan and Gary Jennings. The debut also featured former Dream Death and Penance drummer Mike Smail who had to later withdraw following travel and visa hassles.
Album number two was promoted on the road with guitarist Victor Griffin and drummer Joe Hasselvander of Pentagram - incidentally a band covered early on by Cathedral. Both left the band on bad terms.
During its existence the band has also tackled more up-beat material including a video to a track where Dorian does a credible disco imitation! The front man has lead the band into many tours including one with Deicide where the Satanic headliners asked to change status with the doomsters because not enough people were staying around after watching six bands! Otherwise the band had toured with Morbid Angel, St. Vitus, Paradise Lost, Carcass, and Black Sabbath. None other than Black Sabbath's Mr. Iommi had guested on one Cathedral album - namely The Carnival Bizarre. The band ended its relationship with Earache in 2001. 2001 also saw Dorian's participation in Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine project with members of Iron Money and Goatsnake among others.
Cathedral signed to Nuclear Blast Records in late 2003. The band also toured North America with Strapping Young Lad. Lee Dorian and Napalm Death's Shane Embury formed a grindcore side project in late 2003.
The band was recording its debut for Nuclear Blast in 2004 when former label Earache issued a band sampler entitled A Serpent's Gold. The doomsters issued a new album, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, on September 26, 2005 through Nuclear Blast Records. Cathedral released its next full-length album, The Guessing Game, on March 26th, 2010 through Nuclear Blast. The CD was recorded at the Chapel Studio in the U.K. and was produced by Warren Riker (Down and Crowbar).
Cathedral was marking its 20th anniversary by performing a one-off show on December 3rd, 2010 at the O2 Academy in Islington, North London. On the night Cathedral would perform two sets, one featuring the entire debut album, Forest Of Equilibrium, where Lee Dorrian and Garry Jennings would be joined by the recording line-up Mark "Griff" Griffiths, Adam Lehan and Mike Smail. The second would feature the band’s current line-up.
The band announced it would play its last show ever on December 3rd, 2011 at the London Kentish Town Forum. The band was releasing a final album in 2012 before calling it a day. It was to be called The Last Spire. Cathedral pulled out of Germany’s Hammer Of Doom festival in October because another band (Devil’s Blood) was using animal blood as part of its show. With The Dead, a new U.K.-based band featuring members of Cathedral and Electric Wizard, would release its six-track, self-titled debut on October 16, 2015 through Rise Above Records. The band featured guitarist/bassist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening of Electric Wizard and singer Lee Dorrian of Cathedral and owner of Rise Above.
CATHEDRAL - SUPERNATURAL BIRTH MACHINE - EARACHE
After a miserably useless EP earlier in 1996 here again are Dorrian and crew spreading their wares before the doom nation. An enigma always, Cathedral number four is little different. The band can both be modem and retro at the same time. The band harks back to early Black Sabbath and the occasional Osbourne-like vocals, yet the music on the title track, for example, is largely up-beat and dynamic. The band finds inspiration in the decade twenty years past, yet furnishes the art with titles such as Phaser Quest and Cyclops Revolution. The main man behind the show is an ex-grinder now trained in the art of sludge' n doom. Make what you wish from it all, Cathedral is its own edifice. That is a compliment on the shoulders of any man. Me just wonders why the European cover is the American inside art and how many others noted the Iron Man parody in the title track. - Ali "The Metallian"
CATHEDRAL - THE SERPENT'S GOLD - EARACHE
This is not a new Cathedral album, but rather Earache's typical attempt to cash in on a band which has packed its bags and moved on - in this case to Nuclear Blast. The release of this disc might have been contractually stipulated in Cathedral's contract, but this sampler is really only of interest to diehard fans of the British doom metal act. The reason one can say that is disc two, entitled Rare Disc, which contains several demo and live versions of Cathedral songs. There isn't much this review can say about those tracks though as Earache has chosen not to ship them to the press. The Serpent's Gold features Cathedral's most notable songs of which there are quite a few. Doom or be... whatever. - Anna Tergel
CATHEDRAL - THE GARDEN OF UNEARTHLY DELIGHTS - NUCLEAR BLAST
Past the wonderfully original cover artwork on yet another Cathedral album, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights - now located on the roster of Germany’s Nuclear Blast - is both more of the same and the signal for new sounds in the English Cathedral. Here, nothing about the structure is played safe.
The Garden... is a 1.1-hour long slab of doom, gloom, space and acid rock and psychedelia that both hearkens to the doom sounds of earlier Cathedral and Black Sabbath and a chaos derived from the band’s apparent desire to experiment and surprise. The album begins with a not so unusual intro before climbing up the Tree Of Life & Death. From here on end the band goes through a chaotic melee of distortion, off-key whining, screams, chaos and nods at several bands its senior. The first song is reminiscent of Celtic Frost down to Lee Dorian’s voice. The same singing takes a nosedive on the following track, North Berwick Witch Trials, where even multiple effects fail to rescue the abysmal crooning. Upon Azrael’s Wings has a good riff towards the end and features female vocals, a heavy bass and samples. Corpsecycle is groovy and more like Cathedral most know, although by now it is clear that Dorian’s voice is really shot. Fields Of Zagara is an instrumental interlude that stretches out to Oro The Manslayer (who?), one of the better songs on the album. This song could have come from an Entombed album. Oro... is followed by Beneath A Funeral Sun which is a reversion to doom metal - as if the title would not make that clear - which in turn is followed by the 27-minute long title track, The Garden. How the quartet has managed to create a song that long is easily explained by noticing the ups and downs, grimness and joy, rock and folk elements and acid rock embedded within the one track. This almost has it all. Whether that is a compliment or not is up to the reader. The album ends with a supposed hidden track called Proga-Europa.
The Garden Of Unearthly Delights truly bears many fruits. Be it a kids’ choir, massive bass guitar distortion, groovy riffs, offbeat screaming or chaotic discharge it is all here. Occasionally it works too. Let us call it the acid rock for the 21st century. - Ali “The Metallian”