It’s twilight in the woods. The fading light brings shadows, and with them eerie shapes seem to emerge out of the foliage itself. Indistinct but definitely present are the obscure denizens of the wood who gather joylessly to celebrate arcane pagan rites of fornication and delirium. After six separate ceremonies pass, the light of a new day begins to illuminate the heavens. And in its glare, the specters recede solemnly to their daytime hibernation, only to slither forth again when the moon arrives to oversee their pagan reveries.
That is the mood of Cathedral’s debut album as heard through my view, and a more somber and beaten sounding release had simply never been crafted in metal upon its release. Listeners familiar with Lee Dorrian’s vocal work with Napalm Death were perhaps horrified to hear his signature growl compressed to a creepy bellow, and the hyper-speed grind replaced by slow-motion doom of the most severe order. Credit is also due guitarist Gary Jennings, whose worship of all rock things obscure informs the riffs and lines that pour off his fingers. Song wise “Commiserating the Celebration” is the monster here, 11 minutes of SLOW unfolding dour feeling. An acoustic intro gives slight respite, but after that, it’s a slow march to melancholy. In the album’s original configuration there were NO up-tempo cuts, just six rituals of which “Equilibrium” and “Ebony Tears” are perhaps the standouts.
The sound is all midrange and quavering bottom end, with no bright spots of treble to offer a glimmer of sonic hope – Cathedral would go on to pen many more essays on the subject of doom and elder metal worship – but this starting point will always pack a dreadful power that stands alone. Seriously. Most doom sounds like comedy when put up against this. - brocashelm
Cathedral - Forest of Equilibrium (1991)
Posted by Junkhead
Labels: doom metal, England
17 March, 2011
First album of the British doom legend. A CLASSIC!