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Apostles of a Doom following the traditional Holy Trinity of Black Sabbath, Saint-Vitus and Cathedral, the french congregation have taken t...
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Cathedral : The Garden Of Unearthly Delights

Cathedral, for many reasons, is a band that has placed their name right next to the names of those who created this music. Exaggerated you might think, but it's not. Doom metal never was, and hopefully will never be, in the center of the scene. In the 1990's especially, the scene was dominated by death or progressive bands leaving very limited space for doom metal bands on record label rosters. There were a few exceptions but most of them were doom/death bands. In this not so friendly environment Cathedral established themselves and led the rebirth of traditional sounding doom metal by influencing others and by also giving them refuge on Lee Dorian’s label Rise Above. The albums they released in the 90's are now considered masterpieces and have grown into legendary status.

The first thing you notice about the album is the cover. David Prachett painted an image of surrealistic and twisted sickness which leaves promises for the music contained on the disk inside.

The album starts with 'Tree of Life and Death' ('Death AD 2005' is not counted as it is just an intro consisting mostly of sound effects). The band is in good form and the song is very energetic, taking us back to the mid-90s era of the band. The nostalgia continues with 'North Berwick Witch Trials' and 'Upon Azraels Wings', with the first of the two being something of a sequel to the now cult song 'Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)'. If you listen well, you may even uncover similarities between the two. Next in line is 'Corpsecycle', a more melodic track that to my ears sounds more 'Sabbath than 'Sabbath and dare I say better than some 'Sabbath originals. Next comes the short acoustic interlude 'The Fields of Zagora', which sounds very interesting and leads us into 'Oro the Manslayer', which would be better titled "Oro The Neckbreaker". This is one of the best songs the band has written in its entire history and when played live should definitely produce much pain in the back of the necks of many of the viewers. 'Beneath A Funeral Sun' brings to mind scenes from movies like Suspiria or Phenomena (both directed by D. Argento) and could be easily be included on their soundtracks.

All so bright, all so perfect you would guess. I'm afraid not, the 27 minute long closing track 'The Garden' is infested with so many good ideas and so many interesting parts that it is infuriating to have it delivered in this bad patchwork form. The track could have being better constructed or even better, split into smaller tracks. The best comment comes from an old interview with a Shadow Gallery member, "When we have a good idea we let it grow. A good song is a good song if it lasts 7 or if it lasts 27 minutes." That's the problem here, as the band have more than one idea and they are not always compatible. The tenth track listed is a hidden track that was included in my promo copy of the album. I don’t know if it is included on the retail version of the album but as with most hidden tracks is nothing more than an outtake.

My final verdict is that you will enjoy this album, but allow me to add that 'The Garden of Unearthly Delights' is still a step down from the old classic albums of the band. Just some trivial info… on some copies of the album, if you rub the printed surface of the album it will give off the scent of apples. I advise against this though because the heat of the laser inside the CD player causes it to end up smelling like rotten vegetables.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Death AD 2005
2. Tree Of Life And Death
3. North Berwick Witch Trials
4. Upon Azraels Wings
5. Corpsecycle
6. The Fields Of Zagara
7. Oro The Manslayer
8. Beneath A Funeral Sun
9. The Garden
10. Proga-Europa [bonus track]

Duration : Approx. 72 minutes.

Visit the Cathedral bandpage.

Reviewed on 11-06-2009 by Dimitris Plastiras
Forever Autumn
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