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Various Artists : Doom Or Be Doomed : A French Tribute to Cathedral

Showing both the importance of Cathedral and the relevance of the French underground/Doom scene, this is an amazing release on a number of levels.

Anyone involved in the Doom scene will understand and acknowledge the importance of Cathedral’s input into this genre. Pushing the boundaries, they were founded by former Napalm Death vocalist Lee Dorrian, Mark Griffiths on bass, and former Acid Reign guitarist Garry “Gaz” Jennings. I remember the impact their debut album 'The Forest Of Equilibrium' had on the Doom scene. It was massive and is still considered a game changer.

This album has been put together by popular Doom fans Laurent Lignon and Stéphane Le Saux. This I feel has been a special project for them with total commitment and passion for the band. The bands they have included on the album are some such as Presumption, Ataraxie, Barabbas, Monolithe, Conviction, Northwinds, Father Merrin to name a few. Twelve cover songs of some fantastic Doom Metal favourites. The album is released through Sleeping Church Records. Let’s dig in and see what gems there are hidden amongst these twelve songs.

Pillars' 'Morning Of A New Day' is a huge fuzzy mix of huge riffs that plods majestically along. Painstakingly slow, it’s a heavy mixture with vocals that slide epically along, big riffs and great sounding drums really lift this song. One of my favourite songs on this cover album. Goat River's cover 'Ebony Tears' and Lux Incerta’s 'Serpent Eve' bring up two more tracks. Pretty solid versions that do justice to the originals. They still carry that heaviness and weight you would normally get from Cathedral. I would say Goat River is a little raw sounding in places but tight enough. Lux Incerta has a beautiful sound of fuzz and atmospheric sounds with clean vocals that produce a very strong song. The vocals are very good on this song with harmonies that are cleverly used and a great balance of clean and growls add a good dynamic.

Misanthrope's 'Soul Sacrifice' has a very clean and polished sound to their tone. This song is much faster paced and a nice little number. Some real catchy riffs, solos and interesting vocal lines.

Presumption brings us right back down to sludgy warm fuzz. The more I listen to bands with this sound I’m really digging this tone. Again with this song the vocals are very unique and add a bit of excitement to change the dynamics.

Ataraxie's 'Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain' is top notch. Saxophone serenades us over slow miserable guitars. Deep growls cover the song like a suffocating blanket. This is a huge effort and I’m totally engulfed in this sound. I’m a big fan of their work so I was super excited to hear this track. The emotion that they have got into this cover is a work of art.

Barabbas' 'La Cathédrale De La Sainte Rédemption (Ride)' is a nice little catchy number. A great Sabbath feel to this one, whilst Monolithe’s 'Enter The Worm(Hole)s' opens us up to a mixture of twisting melodies and powerful structures. The bass has a real nice feel on this one and I enjoyed the different layers of this cover.

Conviction’s 'Stained Glass Horizon' has a more haunting feel to it. I think it’s pretty close in terms of sound, and has a really earthy Doomy vibe to it especially in the big reverb sounding vocals. Same for Northwinds 'Voodoo Fire' which is a trippy psychedelic journey full of twists and turns. It’s a very open track with lots of space to mellow out to.

Father Merrin’s 'Congregation Of Sorcerers' is a big heavy sound that hits you like a sledgehammer and Dionysiaque’s 'This Body, Thy Tomb' brings an end to this monster of a tribute. It was never a easy thing to cover such a iconic band but saying that they have pulled this off magnificently. A big thanks from me personally for bringing me back to a band I had not listened to for a while.

The overall production and mix is of excellent quality. Considering all the different bands on show it has that same feel and the placement of tracks allows it flow wonderfully. I would really urge people to listen to this. It may even gain fans to listen to these bands and some to dig into the archives for Cathedral’s catalogue of Doom. A fantastic tribute, and justice has been served.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1.Pillars: Morning Of A New Day
2. Goat River: Ebony Tears
3. Lux Incerta: Serpent Eve
4. Misanthrope: Soul Sacrifice
5. Presumption: Equilibrium
6. Ataraxie: Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain
7. Barabbas: La Cathédrale De La Sainte Rédemption (Ride)
8. Monolithe: Enter The Worm(Hole)s
9. Conviction: Stained Glass Horizon
10. Northwinds: Voodoo Fire
11. Father Merrin: Congregation Of Sorcerers
12. Dionysiaque: This Body, Thy Tomb

Duration : Approx. 89 minutes

Visit the Various Artists bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-10-17 by Riccardo Veronese
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