Cathedral - The Garden Of Unearthly Delight - 2005 - Nuclear Blast
1. Death Ad 2005 2.Tree Of Life And Death 3.North Berwick Witch Trials 4.Upon Azreal's Wings 5.Corpsecyle 6.Fields Of Zagara 7.Oro The Manslayer 8.Beneath A Funeral Sun 9.The Garden 10. Hidden Track
Cathedral has long been my favorite band of the doom and stoner mold, as they've shifted between and blended both, but I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one. Their previous release VIIth coming really did little for me and is probably my 2nd least favorite Cathedral album after the slow, death/doom debut. "The VII Coming" overall just seemed disjointed and unmemorable, but I think maybe that album was just rushed, coming only a year after "Endytyme".
Now a few years after the release of VIIth this album shows Cathedral much more focused and taking things back a few steps towards their mid-era stoner material. This album isn't full on stoner rock though and comes across pretty damn dark and heavy. I suppose the closest comparison would be "The Carnival Bizarre's" Sabbath worship but at times "Caravan Beyond Redemption" style grooves and "Ethereal Mirror's" evil sounding weirdness creeps in. Really it is a mix of the best moments of their generally recognized glory era. To put it simply this album is full of heavy riffs, catchy grooves, and plenty of the dark/twisted atmosphere that Cathedral is best known for. From hard hitters like "Oro The Manslayer" and "The Tree Of Life & Death" to the heavy stoner grooves of "North Berwick Witch Trials" and "Corpsecyle" this album just suceeds in all forms. There should be something for fans of any era of the band really and the always inventive band adds their own touch to this one as well. Check out the creepy as fuck little girl chant in "Beneath A Funeral Sun" for some evil sounding shit and the constantly shapeshifting, 27 minute, "The Garden" for some guest female vocals and a pretty different Cathedral song.
In summation... this album destroys. This really has been the year for the darker metal bands to shine in my opinion. If Sabbath X100 on the heaviness and evil sounds good to you then you need this. Actually I'd recommend this to just about anyone who likes darker metal as this isn't your typical slow doom nor is it the standard fuzzy stoner band. This is just unique, heavy as hell asskicking.
Highlights: Beneath A Funeral Sun, North Berwick Witch Trials, Corpecyle, Oro The Manslayer Rating - 4.5/5.0
--Stygian Steel 10.11.05
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