Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cathedral - The Last Spire (2013)

Well, here we have it. The final go from Coventry's long-running doomsters, Cathedral.

This is probably the slowest the band has played since their debut. Make no mistake about it, though, Forest of Equilibrium this is not, and aside from the tempo (which never truly gets as slow as that album), 'The Last Spire' fits in perfectly with the bulk of material released since those early days. The tempo has been drastically brought down since 'The Guessing Game, sure, but believe me, this album has more in common with 'Endtyme' than it does 'Forest of Equilibrium', which is certainly not a bad thing, but as 'FOE' is my absolute favorite album of all time, I've always held out hope that they would indeed return to their roots. Nonetheless, there are no "feel good" grooves to be felt here and I think that it's a rather classic move on the band's part to go out on such a sour note! Bravo.

If you've been a fan of the band's more "flamboyant" output through the years as well as their amputated extensions towards their distant past then there's really no reason for you not to get into this album. For the most part the band is in fine form here though Dorrian doesn't sound nearly as hostile as I would have liked to have heard and as a result he sounds a mite bit out of place amidst the rumbling tones surrounding him.

I have to say, I'm rather surprised that they didn't go with their usual Patchett clad cover art, designed to lure you once again into their immense world of LSD wrought oddities and introspection. Instead they chose a more simplified and iconic look reminiscent of the figure that adorns the 'In Memorium' demo (as well as the 'Soul Sacrifice' ep) which, if you want to look at it that way, really brings things back a bit and thus full circle.

Unless you were hoping for a complete return to "the forest" (or a sequel to 'The Guessing Game'), Cathedral's swansong should prove to be quite satisfying for you. Again, I wish that Lee had spruced up his vocal delivery a bit with an extra dash of grime, but all in all, this is about as close to equilibrium as we're gonna get, so...

All in all, I can't say that I'm especially teary-eyed over Cathedral's departure as, for me, the band truly set sail and faded away beyond the distant horizon quite some time ago. On the flip side, though, I'm sure their absence will ultimately prove to be a bummer in the coming years as there hasn't been nor will there ever be a band quite as colorful and daring as they. And to the fellas in the band themselves... thank you for the memories. Cheers!

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