CATHEDRAL — The Last Spire

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CATHEDRAL - The Last Spire cover
4.10 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2013

Filed under Doom Metal
By CATHEDRAL

Tracklist


1. Entrance to Hell (3:15)
2. Pallbearer (12:04)
3. Cathedral of the Damned (6:01)
4. Tower of Silence (7:09)
5. Infestation of Grey Death (9:22)
6. An Observation (10:42)
7. The Last Laugh (0:39) (instrumental)
8. This Body, Thy Tomb (9:07)

Total Time 58:19

Line-up/Musicians


- Lee Dorrian / Vocals
- Gaz Jennings / Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
- Scott Carlson / Bass
- Brian Dixon / Drums

Guest/Session:
- Rosalie Cunningham / Vocals (backing)
- David Moore / Hammond organ, Mellotron, Synthesizers, Moog
- Chris Reifert / Vocals on "Cathedral of the Damned"

About this release

Label: Rise Above Records
Release Date: April 29, 2013

Produced by Lee Dorrian and Garry Jennings, with assistance from Jaime Gomez Arellano.

A video was made for "Tower of Silence", featuring Rosalie Cunningham of Purson.

Bonus track for Japan:
9. Tombs of the Blind Dead

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and UMUR for the updates

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CATHEDRAL THE LAST SPIRE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"The Last Spire" is the 10th full-length studio album by UK doom metal act Cathedral. The album was released through Rise Above Records in April 2013. Cathedral announced in February 2011, that after 21 years together they had come to an end as a group. They did however announce that they would do a farewell tour and release one final studio album before disbanding and that final album is "The Last Spire". It´s not a "lightweight" group going into retirement, but one of the most profilic doom metal acts to ever emerge from the UK scene. They leave a legacy of several doom metal "classics" and a reputation as a powerful and hard working live act.

The music on the album is unmistakably the sound of Cathedral. They always have had a unique take on the doom metal style and are probably one of the most distinct sounding acts on the scene. That is in large part due to the singing style of Lee Dorrian. I guess we can rule out by now that Dorrian will ever be able to hit a clean note, but he sure does possess an odd charm that´s highly unique. Demonic, psychadelic, and demented, are some of the words that are valid when describing his vocal style. Cathedral has at various points in their career experimented with a more hard rocking stoner doom style in addition to their brick heavy doom metal style and also on occasion incorporated psychadelic and even progressive elements to their sound. The music on "The Last Spire" is generally in the brick heavy end of the band´s sound with occasional psychadelic leanings and even a nod towards progressive rock on "An Observation", which features both hammond organ, Mellotron, moog, and other vintage keyboards. A track like "Pallbearer" includes female singing while Autopsy frontman Chris Reifert makes a guest appearance on the sinister sounding "Cathedral of the Damned".

The quality of the songwriting is overall pretty high although there are tracks that drag on a bit too long and some vocal parts that are almost too atonal for comfort. The sound production is grand, distorted and organic. Paired with the tight musicianship and the band´s unique sound, "The Last Spire" certainly comes off as a great final effort by Cathedral. I´m not sure I would say they go out on a high, as they´ve produced some incredible albums very early in their career, that I´ve never felt they´ve been able to top, but we are treated to an adventurous high quality doom metal release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
arcane-beautiful
So this is it. This is the end. One of my favourite bands. Saying goodbye. And celebrating their death with a funeral.

Cathedral have always been a band with a rather morbid sense of humour. So whenever they decided to call it quits, they wanted to show their respect by ending their over 20 year career with a final album, which was a great idea, because it shows that the band are ending due to an agreement, rather than bitchy discourse. And, you got to respect them for being so respectful to themselves and to their audiences.

I really want to say that this album is for anybody....but it really isn't. For the most part, this album is depressing as hell. Being a fan of bands like My Dying Bride, Draconian and Esoteric, I was surprised at how Cathedral where able to make me more glum than these bands have done before.

Trying to bring their tragic demise to a full circle, the band decided to take influence from their foetal days. Their classic debut “Forest Of Equilibrium”, an album which really took the metal world by storm and pretty much made Doom metal what it is today, was a major influence and reflection on this album. Instrumentally, the band have taken a more minimal side to production. Garry Jennings guitar sound is heavier than ever, but the razor like tone is now back, cutting into you like a chainsaw with every riff. Lee's vocals are as always, either on pitch or slightly off pitch with a tiny growl behind it. Lee isn't the worlds best vocalist, but his voice does have character and as a storyteller, he is the perfect narrator behind the music and the stories the lyrics paint.

Instrumentally, the band have always been able to impress me. Garry Jennings has always been underlooked as a guitar player, when really, he is a underrated genius. His style of playing is so diverse and full of character, it allows his riffs to really get into the marrow of your bones.

Lyrically, Lee has written ironic and almost comical lyrics. Dark they are, but if you read between the lines and understand the metaphors, Lee is portraying images of funerals, death and doom, but he is really portraying the end for the band, talking about their history and some ties, even thanking their fans.

The intro to the album, “Entrance To Hell”, Lee screams “Bring out your dead.”, a saying that was used in English Medieval times, adding to the doom and gloom of the whole album.

The album is really held together by the three epic songs, which either go over or just about reach the 10 minute mark. “Pallbearer” and “An Observation”, the two longest songs on the album are the most interesting tracks. “Pallbearer,” the more rockier epic has some brilliant bone crushing riffs with some proggier edges throughout, and a rather punky ending. “An Observation” on the other hand is probably my favourite song on the album. As it starts off, it is very slow and dirgeful. 4 minutes into the song, silence is heard. Then a synth solo explodes from nowhere. It does make me laugh at times, but it still shows how diverse and progressive Cathedral are and have always been.

The album also holds some shorter songs. The albums single “Tower Of Silence” is heavy as hell and is a real mammoth of a song. “Cathedral Of The Damned” is a more straightforward Cathedral song while “Infestation Of Grey Death” is a monumental doom epic.

“Thy Body, Thy Tomb” is a song that really just punches you in the face. The song's real body is a heavy and traditional Cathedral song, which I'm slightly surprised by. The song ends with some nice keyboards...oh wait...no it doesn't. The song emerges from the dead and ends with a kick ass riff that goes on for 4 minutes. I love the suprise and the sudden attack Cathedral do to leave a good impression.

In conclusion, this is Cathedral's last album. They have always been able to deliver brilliant albums. Knowing that they where ending, they where obviously going to do something impressive, and they have. This still isn't my favourite Cathedral album (The Garden of Unearthly Delights still holds that flame), but it's definitely in the top 3. A return to form, before the phoenix disappears forever.

RIP Cathedral

8.5/10

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