Cathedral - In Memoriam
Rise Above
Doom Metal
9 songs (72' 16")
Release year: 1999
Cathedral, Rise Above
Reviewed by Andy
Archive review

After a long and illustrious career, Cathedral is no longer with us. They will be sorely missed; with doom metal arguably one of the first genres of metal to appear on the scene, it is nothing short of incredible that Cathedral could become a major force there after starting just before the grunge era, with a vocalist coming from a hardcore, punk, and death metal background. But they did, and In Memoriam, their first demo, which just got re-released on Rise Above records, shows why.

Mourning of a New Day is dark, heavy, and brooding, with little trace of the leads the band later incorporated into the music, but with riffs you could build monuments out of. But Lee Dorrian's voice is the first clue that this is a band that is changing its sound. There are almost none of Gaz Jennings trademark lead riffs, and Dorrian's vocals are so grating and submerged that they sound more like death metal vocals than the somewhat-cleaner sound he used on later hits like Hopkins (The Witchfinder General). Instead, he gargles the lyrics in a sleazy, gravelly tone, and the cover of Pentagram's All Your Sins, whose original followed the usual brisk pace of that band, is dark and forbidding...and very, very slow. Ebony Tears, which eventually made it onto their first LP, is positively funereal, starting quietly with a dull bassline that segues into big, dreary guitar riffs, accentuating the hopeless and despairing imagery of the song. The final track, March, is just what its title says: A continuation of that hopelessness, in the form of a dragging nine-minute instrumental march of doom.

The re-release comes with five live tracks, and given the large, bold sound of Cathedral's later albums, it's somewhat of a surprise as to how quiet and unassuming Dorrian sounds as he introduces the songs. But that makes perfect sense; In Memoriam documents the first faltering steps of what quickly became a powerhouse of doom metal, and there are flashes of the brilliance found in later Cathedral albums as the band became more mature. This one isn't the best introduction to Cathedral for new listeners -- I'd recommend my personal favorite, The Carnival Bizarre --, but for fans who want a look into the band's early history, this is definitely a good one to check out.

Killing Songs :
Ebony Tears is the best, but all are excellent
Andy quoted no quote
Other albums by Cathedral that we have reviewed:
Cathedral - The Last Spire reviewed by Charles and quoted 92 / 100
Cathedral - The Guessing Game reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Cathedral - The Ethereal Mirror reviewed by Adam and quoted 90 / 100
Cathedral - Endtyme reviewed by Charles and quoted 93 / 100
Cathedral - Supernatural Birth Machine reviewed by Charles and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
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