Cathedral - Templars Arise! (The Return)

12 Nov
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After a few albums of 'more Sabbath-y than Sabbath' Stoner Doom in the mid-to-late nineties, 2001 saw Cathedral return to their down-tuned bowel rattling best, trudging out a darker, monolithic hour of soul searching Doom that most of their hardened fans had hoped for. Gone were the comedic cries of "Huggy Bear - Oh Yeah!", instead replaced here with screams of anguish and shadowy tales aplenty. Opener "Cathedral Flames" greets the listener with a slow pounding instrumental dirge, segueing nicely into the best track on the album "Melancholic Emperor", where Lee Dorrian's "Oooh!!" sees the main riff crash from your speakers with all the subtlety of a herd of rampaging Elephants. There is of course still huge amounts of Sabbath-influenced riffery, but painted with a much darker, almost monochromatic palette when compared to the likes of "Carnival Bizarre." The rest of the album follows suit in various different guises and tempos, with only "Astral Queen" slowing the pace completely with its "Planet Caravan"-like smoked out acoustic gentleness. Touches of a beefed up St. Vitus can be heard washing through the riffs of "Whores of Oblivion" which, although in my opinion it's one of the weakest tracks on the album, still sounds pretty decent nestled midway into the album. In my eyes at least, this was Cathedral's best album since 'The Ethereal Mirror'. Although the two albums that followed this one kept the darker slant in the music, they didn't quite manage to replicate the quality of the songs that make up this album. "Endtyme" is a largely unheralded gem in Cathedral's back catalogue, and it's certainly worth your time investigating.
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