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Why Not Forget Your Name? - 90%

hippie_holocaust, February 8th, 2011

This is the album that sealed the doom deal for me. Until I discovered "Cosmic Requiem," I was on a pretty strict death metal diet. While Cathedral have nothing to do with DM, they have everything to do with that which is old school. Call them Sabbath-worship if you like, to me there is scarcely a better compliment to receive.

When the bizarre sounds of the opening riff of "Cosmic Funeral" first entered my ears I really didn't know what to think. This was my first experience with Cathedral, and it caught me a bit off guard. It sounded odd, retro, a bit cheeky, and totally British. Lee Dorrian's leather lung growl-shout was of another world, the perfect vehicle for his strange and decadent writing style. Round about four and a half minutes into the disc I found myself under full command of Dorrian's disco supernova. Lee D and crew suddenly had me learning the Martian casanova.

Let's groove, sonic motherfucker!!

The interplay of the guitar and keys gives "Cosmic Funeral" a slick feel as the band jams on Sabbathian power chord slides. From the grooving, up-tempo portion of the song, I guess you could see how some uninitiated media dumbfuck would apply the oxymoronic term "disco doom," a term hated by Dorrian and co. When all is said and done, Cathedral are not a doom band, nor a stoner band, they are simply a heavy metal band. Case closed.

And "Hypnos 164" is just that, a heavy metal song, in the same way that "Paranoid" is a heavy metal song.

In 2011 are brains are bogged down with myriad sub-genres and bastardizations of the metallic sacrament. That's why I don't listen to anything new. Don't ask me what a breakdown is. I thought that's what rappers did, break it down, right? I guess it was some time in the mid to late 90s when our beautiful, puritan, poseur-slaying heavy metal was first defiled by hip-hop culture. Now we have mallcore miscreants dressed in baggy pants, side-cocked hats and short fuckin hair forming so-called metal bands. Ok. I'll digress before this rant turns into a fuckin deathwish.

Let's talk about the Rebirth of an already majestical metal song. For those of you familiar with "Forest of Equilibrium," you know the tune "A Funeral Request" is a tasty slice of British doom. The original version of this tune creeps forward at a snails pace, reminiscient of the Sab's "Electric Funeral," but on xanax. I would wager that during Cathedral's touring for FoE they experimented with increasing the tempo on that opening lick, thus lending to it a more ball-crushing, less depressive effect on the listener. "A Funeral Request (Rebirth)" merely injected a bit of adrenaline into an already stellar piece. Note the added bluesy soloing starting at 0:56 which sets up the eloquent verse quite nicely. These lyrics are borrowed from 1890s poet DP Barnitz, a writer of nihilistic verse who died of heart complications at the age of 23. There is something about the elegance of King James English that is meant for metal. "White rose perfume, go with thee on thy way - unto thy shaded tomb..."

My only gripe with this song (and with Cathedral) is the lack of double bass drums where the music absolutely calls for double bass. At 4:40 the tune picks up the pace, entering a beefy triplet rhythm. Upon first listen, and seemingly at Dorrian's urging of "C'mon!" I expected to be punched in the balls with equally beefy sustained double bass triplets, but they were nowhere to be found, leaving an unfulfilled bottom end. Perhaps drummer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Ramsey Wharton finds double bassing distasteful. His fills and pocket drumming are expert, maybe he deemed double kicks unnecessary. This complaint of mine could be due to years spent in the death metal realm where two kicks are standard issue. However, I somehow doubt that I am alone in wondering, where is Wharton's left (or right, he might be a lefty) foot? Oh well, this lack of kicks is made up for in the song's bombastic and tech-friendly 7/4 outro. Well done, boys.

Three out of four tracks and the EP is only half-over. Let the weirdness ensue with "The Voyage of the Homeless Sapien," quite an aptly-named little diddy. The track begins with lovely homage paid to "Planet Caravan," and the ponderous verse leads into a thick, down-tuned and dreary guitar line. The lyrics here provide excellent social commentary on the uselessness of mankind. This piece is set up as an eight part suite, ranging from doom to the overtly experimental to pure heavy metal mastery, chugging along until, um, well until the mushrooms kick in. We frolic in the green fields of ego loss, forget our chores for the day, even forget our names, and then, slowly, we drift back into the doldrums of reality again with a riff that sounds strangely familiar... wait a minute... is that Iron Man? Dude, are they ripping off Iron Man?? Answer: NO. This riff which awakens us from our psilocybe-slumber is not the property of Mr. Iommi but of his descendants, the very children of the grave and of the sea!

Here we have four greatly varied tracks that clock in at exactly forty-three minutes. I think I gave seven dollars and some change for this disc at the used cd shop. What a steal, man! A fine piece of obscure and experimental music which thumbs its nose at all things conventional.

Weird and fucked up. I LIKE! - 80%

RageW, September 9th, 2008

This is a little EP where Cathedral decided to experiment a bit with weird sounds and instruments (a fucking chair). But, as most of Cathedral, it's very fun. However, on 'Cosmic Requiem', they decide to mix some hard rockers mixed some doom, and some other weird stuff like the afford mentioned CHAIR and rattles, and sounds of people coughing. The result is an album which has the atmosphere, heaviness, and slowness that makes doom so great, and the speed (that's right, both slow AND fast) and song structures of plain normal Heavy Metal.

It begins with 'Cosmic Funeral', which has a doom vibe, and very a catchy main riff. It's hardly noticeable, but the song starts slow and begins to quicken up, try listening to the first seconds, and compare them to parts like at 3:14; it gets faster. Then near the middle it abandons the first doom half and becomes a mid-paced rocker with a cool synth behind and other shit like that guitar solo full of weird sounds. It keeps going on this rocking vibe, then it's solo after solo after solo until the end. This is probably the second best song on here.

'Hypnos 164' is the fastest song in here, and it almost completely lacks any doom feeling in it, and is instead a Heavy Metal song with a lot of solos, Lee Dorian's raspy voice, and of course, a generous amount of catchy riffs here and there. It's really headbangable, and the last melodic riff is pretty sweet, followed with more (yeah, damn right) weird noises at the end.

'Funeral Request - Rebirth' is the most doom-oriented song here, which sort of complements 'Hypnos 164'. Though it's doom-ORIENTED, it's not completely doom, since it's faster than most doom I've heard, but it has those little doom characteristics than make it recognizable. At the 4:35 mark it goes into something that would make you think that Cathedral decided to go all-out drone...for about 4 seconds. Because it then picks up with a fucking awesome riff, and it loses every doom aspects it had, pretty much like 'Cosmic Funeral'. It's funny how they play Heavy Metal song's with that doomish tone, it makes it sound really cool.

Ok, to the best song in here, which is also the longest, weirdest, most fucked up (how can you not love it!). 'The Voyage of the Homeless Sapien' starts with Dorrian talking through some weird effect which sounds a lot like Pantera's 'Floods', only that without sucking. After that it goes to a straight forward, slow doom riff, and a little bit later the vocals kick in again and keep with the doom vibe. Apparently the song is divided into several pieces, and when the third one called 'Along The Tranquil Riverbanks' starts, it goes into an acoustic riff which then morphs into a really heavy riff which almost sounds like Thrash. Another 'part' then comes with more riffs and Dorrian's silly low-falsetto voice. The lyrics are really silly, though that's probably the most normal thing in this song, and they sound like if they were improvised on the spot...or done while really fucking high!

The song then continues and they put some more weird vocal effects on the voice, and then more riffs--I don't know if you could keep calling this song doom, since there are just so many changes, parts, it's like motherfucking Dream Theater without wankery, and funnier. Every few seconds/minutes theres a new 'part' which in normal occasions would sound like if has no place in there, but it doesn't feel forced (most of the time, that is). You have that part at 10:51 which sounds so odd, with weird sounds and a...xylophone? I don't know, the point is that it ends in a guitar solo which comes out of nowhere, with some sounds in the middle, and then another guitar solo, will this madness ever end? Fuck no! We're just half through the song. I love how that middle part is filled with solos which have no place at all on how the song moves, but that's exactly what makes them good, cause this song feels so disorganized and weird and stuff that you can't help but love it. Like, at 12:46 the whole song changes away into a ballad-like piece, with an acoustic guitar and shore noises and more weird shit which already became standard for this.

Though I believe the hugest 'WTF' moment is at 14:18 with that small "lalala" part, which is funny! Then another 'part' with a bass-driven riff which is pretty goddamn catchy, and makes you headbang a little bit, like it or not. Then the song fades away, and away, and away...And then there's a riff which sounds like 'Iron Man', which repeats itself for some minutes until the distortion kicks in repeating it, and now that riff with THAT distortion sounds almost exactly like 'Iron Man', probably it was intended, I don't know what to think about this thing anymore. Then the final minutes are some weird chants with a guy talking rubbish in the back, and then it all ends in a huge and majestic--TOILET NOISE! I don't know if that can be considered cool, but I haven't heard ANY other album that ends that way (probably they have a good reason not too though).

So we have a weird piece of music which can't be considered avant-garde, or doom, or heavy metal, or plain weird shit, but a combination of everything that results in a truly amazing album. (That is, if you can handle nonsense for LONG periods of time). You should get this just for the pure amusement factor.