So, all you English doom metal fans already know the rumors are true. That’s right, Lee Dorrian and Garry Jennings Have decided to lay down the horns after 21 years of metal. Back in 2011, Cathedral announced that they’d be disbanding after one more album titled, The Last Spire, and on April 30th you can hear what these doom veterans created to end their career with.
Now I’m not a dedicated fan, but I know enough to say that this 8-track album is pretty indicative of the uniquely morose sound Cathedral has cultivated over the years. I am personally more drawn to fast paced metal that gets the adrenaline pumping, heart racing and body thrashing. The mood for something doomy strikes me every once in a while, but when it comes to The Last Spire I think the genre is better described as gloom rather than doom metal.
The 3 minute intro titled, “Entrance To Hell,” builds anticipation with eerie sounds of church bells and squawking crows. I was home alone the first time I listened and it gave me the major creeps. Not gonna lie, I turned on the lights and locked the doors half way through the track. “Entrance To Hell” is a fitting introduction for the album that I think could easily serve as a sound track to a black and white horror movie involving zombies or a human cloning experiment gone horribly wrong.
All the songs on this album are pretty long and heavy with bass and distortion “Pallbearer” is almost 12 minuets and the rest fall somewhere between 5 and 11. Moments of The Last Spire feel somewhat experimental with the incorporation of strange chimes, synthesized keyboard, distorted spoken lyrics and natural sound effects like wind and sloshing water.
Admittedly, I don’t usually listen to this genre of metal but I’d say it’s perfect background music for a stormy day, especially if you spent it locked in your room after smoking numerous joints and loosing faith in mankind. If those activities aren’t on the itinerary for the day you can still give the album a listen, it is musically interesting and the lyrics conjure up some wickedly dark images.
As a whole The Last Spire has a solemn, drone metal sound and could be appropriately described as a funeral hymn for when Cathedral is laid to rest.
It’s not an upbeat, party motivating, whiplash inducing album, but it certainly exemplifies Catherdral’s distinctiveness.
If you want to flail around wildly to The Last Spire, it’ll be in slow motion, but if you’re a devout Cathedral fan, that’s just the way you like it.