Released: 2015, Rise Above Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
While Cathedral’s legendary IN MEMORIAM demo has been released in various formats previously (originally as IN MEMORIUM in 1990), this latest reissue may be the definitive version. In addition to the demo’s original four tracks, we’re treated for the first time to five live tracks from the spring of ’91, prior to the release of their FOE debut. Additionally, the CD version of the album comes with a DVD of said live performances, detailed liner notes, and some rare photos. Doom on, friends – this is the goods.
I’ve got an older version of this album, and the original demo tracks sound considerably better in this edition. Not a full remaster job, but just enough touch ups to balance out the sound. The songs themselves are classic Cathedral; only “Ebony Tears” would make it onto their debut, but “Mourning of a New Day” and their sloooowed down take of Pentagram’s “All Your Sins” shows the considerable promise of a band in its infancy. The live tracks are really the incentive here to check this out, though. Aside from 2011’s ANNIVERSARY, there’s not a ton of live material floating around from Cathedral, so this should be a real treat for fans of the band. “Commiserating the Celebration” is delivered in a much more uptempo/trad-metal fashion than its studio counterpart, and “Neophytes for the Serpent Eve” sounds decidedly more menacing on stage in this format. It's a sort of history lesson to hear how traditionally heavy the band was during this timeframe, before the stoner dalliances and creative exposition.
The video/DVD portion of the release wasn’t included in the promo materials, but I’m eager to get my hands on a physical copy of IN MEMORIAM for this reason specifically. As much as I love Cathedral, this is really a “strictly for the fans” release, and a lot of those fans may already have the original demo in one format or another. Still, it’s an intriguing time capsule from an exceptional band that would go on to define the doom genre.