Cathedral Anniversary

Cathedral Anniversary
Once the linchpin of the UK doom scene, starring Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema, Coventry doom pioneers Cathedral are the first of their lot to retire. Save for the release of studio swansong The Last Spire, later this year, the band played their final gig in late 2010, performing their ground-breaking debut, 1991's Forest of Equilibrium, in its entirety with the original line-up of vocalist Lee Dorrian, guitarists Garry Jennings and Adam Lehan, bassist Mark Griffiths and Penance drummer Mike Smail. Disc one of double-CD Anniversary chronicles this first (and last) performance, and the group sound as tight and sonically solid as they did two decades ago. Highlights include "Ebony Tears," 11-minute gloom epic "Commiserating the Celebration (of Life)" and single "Soul Sacrifice," rendered at its original tempo: low and slow. On disc two, Dorrian and Jennings are joined by current members Brian Dixon (drums) and Leo Smee (bass) to plough through a 12-song set of classics, the bulk culled naturally from their most fecund period, which spawned 1993's The Ethereal Mirror and 1995's The Carnival Bizarre. "Enter the Worms," "Midnight Mountain," "Cosmic Funeral" and the rollicking "Ride" stand tall among newer tracks, and the only missteps come with "Corpsecycle" and Dorrian's spoken-word hokum in "Funeral of Dreams." Otherwise, Anniversary marks the end of an era in metal history, with Cathedral giving up the onstage ghost, at least, in fine form. (Metal Blade)