With albums such as Forest Of Equilibrium and The Ethereal Mirror, Cathedral cemented their place in doom metal history. With each successive album after that the band moved towards a more rock orientated sound, especially on Caravan Beyond Redemption and The VIIth Coming. On Garden Of Unearthly Delights the band incorporated more progressive influences. On their latest album, entitled The Guessing Game, Lee Dorian and Co are back in full swing with a punishing ninety minutes worth of music spread out over two compact discs.
Most labels would consider this commercial suicide, but The Guessing Game is a testimony to the band’s artistic vision and integrity. Musically speaking the album is a celebration of what Cathedral have done in the past twenty years, which also happens to be the main theme in the album’s closing track Journeys Into Jade.
The main strengths of The Guessing Games lay in the diversity and the overall high quality of the offered song material. In Funeral Of Dreams, Edwige’s Eyes, The Running Man and Requiem For The Voiceless the band revisit their doom metal past, while more upbeat songs like Painting In The Dark and Casket Chasers have a nifty Hopkins (The Witchfinder General) feel to them. Death Of An Anarchist, Cats, Incense, Candles & Wine and Ghost Galleon have a more progressive twist to them.
The main thread linking all these songs together is the band’s evident love for seventies rock and progressive music, which is further strengthened by the extensive use of vintage equipment such as mellotrons and Hammond organs. The singing qualities of Lee Dorian are still debatable, but they are an integral part of the musical carnival that is Cathedral.
The Guessing Game is blessed by a warm and organic production, thanks to the capable hands of Warren Riker (Down, Cynic). It really enhances the vintage seventies feel of this album.
With The Guessing Game Lee Dorian and Co deliver their most diverse and comprehensive album to date. Recommended!
written by Raymond Westland