Cathedral has been around now for about ten years. In that time they have become THE band that have best carried on the doom aspect of Sabbath. In the past 2-3 years it seems as if Cathedral have not been as prominently mentioned/featured as they were in the mid-90’s. With the release of ENDTYME, I kind of doubt that trend will change despite the fact that this is a good CD, it’s just not as good as some of their past efforts.
Most CD’s kick off with a bang or something to grab your attention….not so with Cathedral. The CD plods in with a short, doomy, slow, churning funeral hymn called “Cathedral Flames.” Talk about your Vol. 4 Sabbath homage huh? After this intro is the more upbeat “Melancholy Emperor.” There is some great down-tuned riffing on this one with my only complaint being the slight distortion effect on Lee Dorrian’s vocals. Near the mid-section the up-tempo feel is cut with a very morbid sounding riff – think “Where The Slime Live” by Morbid Angel without the insane robot drumming in the background (and NO, the two bands have nothing in common, just that one riffing reference point). “Requiem For The Sun” is up next, beginning with an “underwater” sounding guitar part. The riff that follows sounds like it was originally written to be played faster but they slowed it down deliberately. If played a bit faster it could have been catchy and a bit bouncy like one of my favorite Cathedral songs, “Ride.” This song kind of trudges on into no mans land and loses me. “Whores To Oblivion” is more like it, total Sabbath vibe happening and not a numbing dirge. Near the end it gets totally retarded! When you think your CD player is destroying your speakers at the end, ignore it (unless you have it turned loud, then turn it down quick), it was meant to sound that insane…VERY disturbing. “Alchemist of Sorrows” continues on with another of the CD’s finer moments. The ultra heavy riffing mixed with a clean vocal/guitar part makes this memorable. For the dreamy song of the album check out “Astral Queen” – think Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan.” Yet another bad attempt to mimic that classic song complete with the shimmering underwater effect on the vocals and in this case a few places with the echoing sounds of a chick groaning like she’s getting F**KED. This song is just too weird, too artsy fartsy and too stoner for my tastes. The last “song” (I use the word song loosely) on the album is “Templar’s Arise (The Return)” – talk about your incoherent spaced out piece of “music.” Not doom, not stoner metal, just 100% WEIRD! What a brainless way to end off a CD. ENDTYME lacks in one area and that’s with cohesion and natural flow. It’s not all bad, but there are many places where things drift off into mindlessness, especially at the end of the CD.
I’m not the biggest fan of doom metal because typically songs that are so slow bore the hell out of me. Cathedral has always been an exception, especially for their album THE ETHERAL MIRROR. ENDTYME does not even come close to matching this classic. Overall, the songs on here are not as well constructed, the vocals are not as intense, and songs are not as catchy. In fact, this album has more in common with earlier Cathedral material like some moments on FOREST OF EQUILIBRIUM. If you have never heard this band before, this is not the album that will get you into them.
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