Cathedral The VIIth Coming

If last year’s Endtyme was a return to the roots of Cathedral’s smothering 1991 debut Forest Of Equilibrium, then The VIIth Coming is a definite tip o’ the hat to every facet of their colourful career since then. Front-man Lee Dorrian regains his classic vocal prowess, minus the oft-exaggerated "oh yeahs” that caused many a critic to turn a deaf ear in years past. "Skullflower” resembles an upbeat groover off 1993’s major-label stab The Ethereal Mirror, while the Clutch-buoyant "Aphrodite’s Winter” and its acoustic intro lean more towards their experimental between album EPs, namely 1994’s Cosmic Requiem. "The Empty Mirror” dives into Forest sludge with intriguing interludes of (in)sanity: church organ, choir, then a blazing solo by long-time guitarist Garry Jennings. The organ is reprised in the faster "Nocturnal Fist,” which seriously runs Dorrian through his vocal paces. "Iconoclast” mimics a thunder boomer from 1998’s Caravan Beyond Redemption, and "Black Robed Avenger” instils Rush-inspired riffing (circa Moving Pictures). The seven-minute closer "Halo Of Fire” sees Dorrian’s growls phased for full effect with cryptically muffled voice samples embedded in the inky outro. The VIIth Coming is another solid effort in a long line of great records from these UK gloom dealers. (Dream Catcher)