Our top 10 Cathedral songs list looks at the work of one of the greatest Doom metal bands to emerge from the United Kingdom who are from the city of Coventry. They were first formed in 1989 after vocalist Lee Dorrian left his previous band Napalm Death. He formed the band with Mark Griffiths who shared his love of Black Sabbath and the doom metal bands that were influenced by them such as Candlemass and St Vitus.
In 1991, Cathedral released their debut album Forest of Equilibrium which is considered to a milestone of the doom metal genre. It was released on legendary British label Earache Records who at that time also had Napalm Death on their roster as well as other related bands such as Carcass and Godflesh. Dorrian’s singing style was very different to that of when he was in Napalm, whereas in that band he growled in a death metal style, his voice with Cathedral was much more clean and accessible sounding.
Over the course of their career, Cathedral produced ten albums and went through numerous line-up changes with Dorrian being the only constant member. Although primarily a doom metal band, they experimented a lot during their career and some of their albums took on a more conventional rock style. In 2011, Cathedral announced that were to split after over two decades together. They finally called it a day in 2013, stating that there is no chance of them ever reforming. Dorrian has continued to run his label Rise Above records and has been involved with other musical projects. Here is a list of Cathedral’s ten best songs.
# 10 – Entrance To Hell
Kicking off our top ten Cathedral songs list is the opening track of their tenth and final album The Last Spire released in 2012. The band was seen as coming full circle on this album by going back to their doom roots after having experimented with various different styles over the course of their career.
# 9 – The Guessing Game
Up next is the title track of the band’s ninth album released in 2010 which was their first and only double album. The album was praised for its adventurous nature and the fact that they were able to pull it off without sounding bloated or the album being boring. This is an instrumental track that has strong vibes of the sixties and seventies psychedelia.
# 8 – Corpsecycle
Our next track is taken from the band’s eighth album released in 2005. The album’s title is based on that of the Hieronymus Bosch painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” There was a limited digipack edition of the album that contained a “Sniffle Disc” in the shape of an apple that when rubbed emitted the smell of an apple.
# 7 – Resisting The Ghost
Next up is a track taken from Cathedral’s seventh album which is aptly titled The VIIth Coming. This track is a very heavy and rocking number that is doomy but at the same time has a faster tempo than the generally slow nature that the genre is characterized with. It is also the shortest track on the album at just over two minutes but does not feel rushed.
# 6 – Melancholy Emperor
Ending the first half of this list is this track taken from the group’s sixth album released in 2001. This album was a return to the dark and doomy sound of their early albums, having gone in a slightly more commercial direction over the previous few years. Stephen Maley, the guitarist of the drone metal band Suno))) designed the artwork, making it their first album to not have artwork designed by artist Dave Patchett.
# 5 – The Caravan
Beginning the second half of this list is a track taken from the band’s fifth album released in 1998 titled Caravan Beyond Redemption. This instrumental track is something of a partial title track is obviously a homage to the band’s main influence Black Sabbath by being both similar in sound and title to their song “Planet Caravan.”
# 4 – Birth Machine 2000
The next song on our list is another track with a title that references that of the album on which it is featured on. The song was released on their fourth album entitled Supernatural Birth Machine released in 1996. The song is a very epic track, being the longest on the album at nearly nine minutes long. Dorrian is very clearly influenced by Ozzy Osbourne here, but the song is actually more similar in sound to something from Ozzy’s solo career than it is to Black Sabbath.
# 3 – Hopkins ( Witchfinder General)
At number three is this single taken from the third Cathedral album Carnival Bizarre released in 1995. This track was also the titular song of an ep released the following year. The track is based on the 1968 film Witchfinder General and features samples from it. It is also possibly a homage to the doom metal band of the same name who were a big influence on Cathedral.
# 2 – Ride
Just off the spot is this track taken from Cathedrals’ second record The Ethereal Mirror released in 1993. After the album’s intro track, this is the real opener and sounds very anthemic and certainly has its Black Sabbath influence written all over it, bearing a particular resemblance to “Children Of The Grave.” The album was reissued in 2009 and contained a bonus documentary on the making of the album.
# 1 – Ebony Tears
At the top of our Cathedral songs list is this track taken from their debut album released in 1991 titled Forest of Equilibrium which is considered to be a classic of the doom metal genre. In 2006, it was inducted into Decibel magazine’s Hall Of Fame. As stated in this article’s introduction, it was released on Earache Records which was also the home of Napalm Death when Dorrian was in the band. It also had a reissue in 2009 with a bonus documentary.
Feature Photo: HeavyMezza89, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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