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Review: Cathedral - The Garden Of Unearthly Delights
The Garden Of Unearthly Delights

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 70:47
Tracks: 10
Genre: Doom Metal


Review online: August 25, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 3.65/5 (73.04%) (46 Votes)

I was a Cathedral fan from the beginning – I mean I got their Forest Of Equilibrium album before anyone knew who they were. But I haven't really followed their career since The Carnival Bizarre – widely held as their best album. I just sort of lost track of them for a while there. Anyway, since I'd heard such good things about this album, I figured I'd get back with Lee and the boys and see what there was to see.

Sad to say, this album is just not very good: the production is crap, the riffs are lacking, and the album as a whole drags on far too long and wallows in self-indulgent weirdness. First we get yet another boring 'intro' track, then the riffs of "Tree Of Life And Death" get going – the only problem is, the riff is stolen note-for-note from the Blues Brothers theme – I'm not fooling. And what's with the sound? The guitars are mushy and too low in the mix, letting Lee's vocals take center stage. And let's be honest, Lee's vocals were never the focal point of the band. And on this album they suck royally – he seems to have traded his wry, somewhat goofy style of old for terrible, monotone hardcore yelling. Some of the other tunes have good starting riffs, like "Corpsecycle", but they just get repeated, there's no variation, no build or resolution. The songs often start strong, only to descend into boring repetition and shouting. Yawn.

Then there is the pinnacle of suck: the twenty-seven minute abortion called "The Garden". I thought they had learned their lesson with "The Voyage Of The Homeless Sapien", but nooooo. This is a half-hour of boring garbage I can't even sit through all the way. Loooong quiet boring parts with muttering and sound effects, then two-minute blasts of riffs, then some surfing music, some country music – to be honest, I just skipped through it mostly, I'm not wasting a half-hour of my time when four minutes assured me that this all sucked. The we get "Proga Europa", which is four minutes of silence followed by sixty seconds of the band making a half-assed stab at some goofy demo song.

This album has listenable moments, but it's largely an insult to my intelligence and a terrible imposition on my time. You want a good Cathedral album? Go spin Carnival Bizarre or The Ethereal Mirror, this is just a bunch of shark-jumping nonsense.

More about Cathedral...
Review: Endtyme (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Forest of Equilibrium (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Soul Sacrifice (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: The Carnival Bizarre (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: The Ethereal Mirror (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: The Guessing Game (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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