|The word was out that the ultimate groove-meisters were about to undergo a time-warp transformation on their new opus. Those "happy-go-lucky" uptempo rockers would disappear and we would see the return of those chillingly slow dirges that infested 'Forest of Equilibrium'. As with most promotional pre-release blurb, I took this with a pinch of salt. Would the band really be that commercially suicidal as to execute such a volte-face? Well, as the old saying goes, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", so when this promo turned up on my doorstep it was time to let my ears find out the truth.|
And the truth, as it happens, is a half way house. With the opening of 'Cathedral Flames' I got a taste of the new macabre Cathedral with it's epic slow opening, resplendent with kettle drums ala the 'Innocence and Wrath' opening to Celtic Frost's 'To Mega Therion'. Actually, 'Frost were a heavy inspiration to early Cathedral and the band were occasionally prone to play some 'Frost covers in the early live performances.
However, like with 'To Mega Therion', 'Cathedral Flames' is just a mood setter for the new brooding Cathedral sound before we kick off into the uptempo groove of 'Melancholy Emperor'. The trade mark 'Sabbath style riffing that the band has cultivated still rules the Cathedral sound and that remains for the main part of the album. However, there is a much darker feel to the groove. The sound is heavier, more down tuned, with Lee Dorrian's vocals even more raw than in recent offerings. The effect is to show us a Cathedral that are not as happy sounding as we have become used to. The fact still remains though, the band still writes catchy tunes. But, where have all the lead breaks gone to? There is a definite dirth of them on this record.
So, where are the snail pacers of old that were so mooted before this release saw the light of day? Well, we are given two numbers to satisfy the doom-sayers. These arrive in the form of 'Ultra Earth' and 'Templar's Arise! (The Return)', though the former doesn't remain in that mould throughout its entire length and includes the first major lead break of the whole album.
So, in conclusion, Cathedral have played it clever. They have kept their groove to appease their current fans, but kept everyone on their feet with a slightly altered feel and a hint back to their embryonic stages that is so loved by die-hard Doom fanatics. 'Endtyme' should, therefore, be a success for all concerned.
1. Cathedral Flames
2. Melancholy Emperor
3. Requiem For the Sun
4. Whores to Oblivion
5. Alchemist of Sorrows
6. Ultra Earth
7. Astral Queen
8. Sea Serpent
9. Templars Arise! (The Return)
Duration : Approx. 63 minutes
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