Cathedral The Guessing Game

Cathedral The Guessing Game
Fans of UK's Cathedral have weathered the band's crazy idiosyncrasies for years, from the Wrestlemania yelps of 1993's The Ethereal Mirror to 2005's wildly uneven The Garden of Unearthly Delights. These doom titans used to reserve their sonic experimentation for lengthy EPs that were released between albums in the '90s, but more and more, edgy material has surfaced on full-lengths. Their first double album, The Guessing Game, is a mishmash of textures, and lead throat Lee Dorrian takes great relish in covering as many bases as possible. After a ho-hum start with "Immaculate Misconception," "Funeral of Dreams" is all over the map, with stoner metal grooves, flute-like keyboards and some truly horrid rapping from Dorrian. "Painting in the Dark" and "Death of an Anarchist" do little to move the album forward, with their riffs recycled from The Ethereal Mirror, but "Edwige's Eyes" and "One Dimensional People" deal heads down doom with an infectious stoner swing and guitarist Garry Jennings' wailing solos. "Journey into Jade" is a retrospective number whose lyrics chronicle the band's storied history. The Mellotron-heavy title track and the oddball "Cats, Incense, Candles & Wine" wouldn't be out of place on an old Donovan record, but "Casket Chasers" and "La Noche Del Buque Maldito" get a boost of neo-doom, à la 1996's Supernatural Birth Machine. Fortunately, the ten-minute "Requiem for the Voiceless" may be their sludgiest number in two decades. As the album's title implies, the question of where Cathedral are headed in the future is anybody's guess. (Nuclear Blast)