Cathedral (1989-2013): a Doom Metal band from Coventry, UK.


hen vocalist/grunter Lee Dorrian left Napalm Death in 1989 because he was reportedly tiring of the punk rock scene and did not like the death metal direction which Napalm Death was taking, he formed this UK based doom metal/death metal band with friend and bassist Mark Griffiths (a roadie for Carcass), as well as former guitarists Garry Jennings and Adam Lehan (both ex-of Acid Reign). Ben Mockrie (drums) also joined in. The line-up was established in time for the four-track demo In Memorandium, which featured a cover of Pentagram's (USA) All Your Sins, an act they would later grab members from. Dorrian's vocals had changed since his Napalm Death days to a style more like '60's and '70's underground rock, much in the style of Black Sabbath.

Mike Smail (ex-Penance/ex-Dream Death; drums) replaced the departing Mockerie for the impressive Forest Of Equilibrium (1991) debut. Mark Ramsey Wharton was his permanent replacement for the Soul Sacrifice EP (1992). A capable UK tour followed with Carcass, Entombed and Confessor in tow, as well as gigs with Obsessed and Trouble. A US tour with Brutal Truth, Napalm Death and Carcass followed, getting them a deal with 'Columbia' in its relentless drive to cash in on the underground ('Earache' would continue to publish their work in the UK).

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Trouble/Danzig/Mick Jagger collaborator Dave Bianco produced The Ethereal Mirror (1993); it advanced on to receive critical acclaim. Another UK tour followed, this time with Penance and Sleep. Cronos guitarist Mike Hickey was guest on bass for the Statik Majik EP (1994), which included the 23-minute epic The Voyage Of The Homeless Sapien. Wharton and Lehan left after a US tour with Mercyful Fate, and a new line-up featuring ex-Pentagram (USA) members Victor Griffin (drums) and Joe Hasselvander (guitar) was collected in time for a Black Sabbath support tour. Hasselvander's stint was short, for shortly later he left due to personality conflicts.

By 1994 Cathedral returned, with Dorrian and Jennings joined by Leo Smee (bass) and Brian Dixon (drums). The Carnival Bizarre would follow in 1995, but by this time they had been converted into a purple shirt wearing retro Metal act. The accompanying EP Hopkins (1995) was designed to cash in on the success of the album's release. The follow-up, Supernatural Birth Machine (1996), was well received regardless of these continued disturbing changes. The '70's influences would grow uncontrolled by the time Caravan Beyond Redemption (1999), Endtyme (2001) and the aptly titled The VIIth Coming (2002) were released. During this time Dorrian was moonlighting by starting his own record label called 'Rise Above Records', a label in the business of selling similarly influenced acts.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights (2005) would follow featuring Dorrian, along with Gaz Jennings (guitars/acoustic guitars/percussion), Brian Dixon (drums/percussion) and Leo Smee (bass/mellotron/flute/synthetizers/auto harp). It would be some time (5 years) before The Guessing Game saw the light of day in 2010.

In February 2011, Dorrian announced the end of Cathedral. Their last shows were played in 2012, with the final album, The Last Spire, arriving in 2013. Three out of four of the final members of Cathedral reformed the band Septic Tank soon after Cathedral's break up.

Footnote: Songs from Supernatural Birth Machine were included aboard the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, launched in October 1997.

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Nation UK
City Coventry
Genre Doom Metal
Formations 1
Active Years 1989-2013
Last Modified 2022-12-03
Diskery ID 405

Artists Linked to Cathedral

Black Sabbath Carcass Danzig
Entombed Mercyful Fate Napalm Death
Penance Pentagram Trouble

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