Cathedral - The Garden Of Unearthly Delights
Nuclear Blast
Doom Metal
10 songs (71'10)
Release year: 2005
Cathedral, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
The masters of doom are back with a new album and since their last album Seventh Coming, they have been busy touring as well as working on many of the side projects that the current band members are involved with. More notably was lead vocalist Lee Dorian's contribution to Dave Grohl's (Foo Fighters) Probot project that also featured Lemmy and a whole cast of other vocalists. For their new album The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, Cathedral recruited Warren Riken (Down, Crowbar) to handle the production duties and the result is being heralded as one of their best albums in years and possibly one of their best albums ever.

As well as the traditional doom style of metal that Cathedral helped develop since their inception in the early 90's, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights offers a great mix of traditional metal with some progressive elements as well as a healthy dose of NWOBHM and even some Pink Floyd-ish psychedelic overtones. After a short intro, the album kicks off with Tree Of Life And Death, a track this is much more up-tempo than the norm for these guys. The thick, sludgy, heavy and catchy sound is still ever present as well as slow plodding interludes and some proggy psychedelia. North Berwick Witch Trials begins with a judge passing sentence at a witch trial before one of the most solid and catchy riffs I've ever heard from this band charges into the fray. This track has a great groove, solid atmophere and lyrical content and gets my vote as one of the best Cathedral songs ever! The uncharacteristically up-tempo style is also found with Corpsecycle, another track with a great catchy main riff. Charging and trudging heavy, this track has an unusual catchiness for a Cathedral track but it works and I love it! Oro The Manslayer is one of the faster and most aggressive tracks on the album with booming riffs, instrumental interludes and some great lead guitar breaks.

Other tracks fall more into the more traditional sludgy, slow and heavy groove style that this band is so well known for including Upon Azrael's Wings that also features a more aggressive shouting vocal style and some female vocals. Beneath The Funereal Sun is a "snarly" and plodding heavy song that uses odd "nursery rhyme" like vocal interludes using child choirs to create a very bizarre yet effective atmosphere complete with a healthy dose of classic Black Sabbath influence.

The albums ends with a 28 minute tour-de-force called The Garden that quite simply is one of the most ambitious, adventurous, strange and yet amazing tracks that this band has ever produced. The Garden was recorded separately from the rest of the album and considerable time was taken just to get it right. With an eerie intro that leads into some nice acoustic guitar work with female vocals, the song eventually gets abstract and heavy with countless riff and tempo changes with the occasional reappearance of the female voice. With the odd time signatures and recurring thematic melodies, this one's the heavy metal equivalent of Supper's Ready by Genesis. There's a hidden track (Track 10) that contains only about a minute and a half of music after about 4 minutes of silence and unless you're patient enough, you will probably miss it.

This album is being heralded as possibly one of the best Cathedral albums ever and certainly their best since their classic Carnival Bizarre back in 1995. There's a common atmospheric quality and it almost comes off as sounding like a concept album. With many of the members being involved with other projects, it keeps getting harder and harder to get them all together to commit to another Cathedral album and tour. In fact, it has been rumoured that this may be their last album. I hope it isn't but if it turns out to be, they couldn't have put out a better album to put a cap on a great career and one that will leave a lasting impact on the current resurgence of doom metal.

Killing Songs :
North Berwick Witch Trials, Corpsecycle, Oro The Manslayer and The Garden
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Cathedral that we have reviewed:
Cathedral - In Memoriam reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
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
To see all 11 reviews click here
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