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Metal Hammer Magazine

CATHEDRAL „The Bridge” (Independent) “The Bridge” is surely not an “easy listening” recording. From the listener it requires focus, patience and devotion of time: it needs to be played a few times before it starts revealing its underlying beauty. You must listen to it once, twice, three times… and don’t get discouraged if at times it annoys or seems to lead nowhere. In such a case, a little step backwards or a moment’s relax is necessary, only to come back to the album in a while. Our patience will doubtless be repaid by Cathedral’s music. What is the record for the length of time between the release of the first and the second album of one performer? This question encourages potential musicological research and arduous work of a browser and could probably be a good starting point for broader sociological deliberations. I am in the dark as to who is currently wielding the world record in this area, but I am sure that Cathedral is among the leaders. The debut album of this American group, entitled Stained Glass Stories was released in 1978, which was at the peak of punk revolution and on the threshold of new wave fashion. No wonder that this album, partly a swansong of American progressive rock, passed practically unnoticed and the musicians of Cathedral got down to their other business, putting their musical ambitions aside. In 1991, when Syn-Phonic record company re-released Stained Glass Stories for a CD, Cathedral was in the spotlight for a moment again, but several years had to pass before the band reactivated – in an almost original line-up: Paul Seal (v), Mercury Caronia IV (dr), Thomas Doncourt (k) and Fred Callan (bg). The only substitution is the guitarist: David Doig stood in for Rudy Perrone. To dispel any doubts, he did it in a very spectacular manner, including on The Bridge an instrumental 6-minute composition “Kithara Interludium”, which he composed and performed all by himself. It is a masterpiece as far as playing the acoustic guitar is concerned. “Kithara Interludium” divides the album into two parts, both of which contain 3 tracks, including one 10+ minute suite each. It is those two long compositions, which on The Bridge shine the most brightly and fully. I suggest remembering their titles: “The Monsterhead Suite: Parts 1, 2 & 3” and “The Secret”. They are both full of passion, profound beauty and unbelievable feats in the style of King Crimson and Yes. “Angular World” is another track that earns distinction. There, the crimson echoes reverberate very distantly: there is a wonderful sound of mellotrones, conjuring up the images of the bygone époque, the vocalist sings as if inspired, and the complicated sounds fly from the speakers, giving a listener a lot of listening pleasure. However, I repeat what I said at the beginning: the beauty of the music will not reveal itself immediately, at least not during the first attempt at listening. It is rather like a cat and mouse game, at times slowly exposing some magical musical solutions, at times drawing the curtain of mystery, but at the next listening it attacks and surprises the listener with something new and as yet undiscovered. I think that a reliable reference for The Bridge would be the King Crimson’s album Thrak. If somebody has taken a liking to that memorable work of Robert Fripp and company, he/she is bound to like the new album of Cathedral. www.myspace/cathedralprogrock Artur Chachlowski

Dutch Progressive Rock Page

Dutch Progressive Rock Review April 18, 2008 In 1978, when punk started to rule the world, American (New York) band Cathedral released their debut album Stained Glass Stories. Although the music on their debut contained strong influences by bands such as Yes and King Crimson it immediately showed that Cathedral had the ability to turn these influences into a style of their own. Especially the upfront bass work by Fred Callan and the totally unique way Tom Doncourt played the mellotron made an incredible impression. In my opinion it’s totally justified to call Stained Glass Stories one of the best progressive rock records to come out of the States ever. I’m pretty sure that the album must have had an influence on Anglagard. With the growing popularity of punk, however, the possibilities of releasing progressive rock records got more difficult. In 2003 the band finally got back together again to start rehearsing for their next album. They experimented for three years and after a year of recording their second album The Bridge was released by the end of 2007. On this album Cathedral consists of lead vocalist Paul Seal, drummer Mercury Caronia IV, guitar player David Doig (who replaced original guitar player Rudy Perrone who left the band because the three years of rehearsing proved to be too much for him), the earlier mentioned Fred Callan on bass and Tom Doncourt on mellotron and other keyboards. So that’s four of the five original members. After nearly thirty years these guys haven’t slowed down one little bit. They certainly did not take the easy way on The Bridge. It is an album that takes all of your attention and a lot of spins before it uncovers its beauty. It’s not an immediate friend. As on their debut the music of Cathedral is still dramatic, full of passion and in places dark. Progressive rock is still at heart of their music but they’ve taken onboard some new influences. There are some David Bowie influences on Satellite and The Lake reminds me of Peter Gabriel. And lastly there are some hints of avant-garde. Those moments reminded me of bands like Underground Railroad (on Angular World for instance) and Deluge Grander. Main influence however is still King Crimson. The level of playing is terrific throughout the album. New man David Doig is a very versatile guitar player and displays his acoustic abilities on the brilliant Kithara Interludium. An acoustic guitar piece of more than six minutes which impresses from start to finish. You can hear a lot of his acoustic skills throughout the album, whilst on the other side of his guitar spectrum is the mad solo he plays on Angular World. Paul Seal has the perfect voice for this grand and dramatic music, which is convincing and full of passion. Fred Callan's bass playing is often the driving force of the songs - very upfront and aggressive. Tom Doncourt leaves the soloing on this album mostly to David Doig but his keyboard work hasn’t really changed much since Glass Stained Stories. He does use some other keyboards now but there is still a lot of mellotron to be heard on this album. And I must say his keyboard work impresses again. Listen for example how he uses a strange keyboard melody first and then follows this with some beautiful mellotron strings on Satellite. Or the pitchbends on Monsterhead. Or his string chords at the start of The Secret. Brilliant stuff. And finally drummer Mercury Caronia IV who has a very varied style of drumming, utilising an array of percussion. But I believe he’s using an electronic kit for this album and I really don’t like they way it sounds - it makes the album sound a little compressed. So please next time use a regular drum kit. But it’s really the only negative thing I can find. There are too many highlights to mention. Still I will name two. Number one would be the album closer The Secret. A very progressive song (also with some great saxophone playing) that displays perfectly all the things that are great about Cathedral. Dramatic, grand, dark in places and that finale! Incredible song. The second highlight of the album is the Crimsonesk Angular World that completely lives up to its name. The Bridge is an impressive album from start to finish and as I said earlier it will ask for your complete attention and several spins to get your head round the music. It’s not an easy album but the rewards are very, very, very satisfying. I hope they won’t wait another thirty years to release the third album. Conclusion: 9.5 out of 10 LEO KOPERDRAAT Dutch Progressive Rock Page-Leo Koperdraat - www.dprp.net (Mar 2, 2008)

Progplanet

Cathedral…US progband with 2 albums to their name, would you beleive, with 29 years apart?! NO ?! I didnt think so, neither did I !! But the fact is, they released a new (and second) album in 2007 and what a brilliant album it is!! Now I havent had the pleasure of hearing their first and rare album, which is (supposedly) a classic early prog album! However I can comment, on this new outing!! And in my honest opinion, it is quite a superb album, with plenty of mellotron, tight themes with drums and solid bass lines and sometimes powerful highflying guitar soli!! But also the vocals are splendid, as are the lyrics! Especially the “Monsterhead” suite are excellent both lyric and music wise!! It has a creeping growing theme that you ( the listener) cant seem to get rid off and believe you me, you dont want to, once you get caught in that fine maelstrom of that superb track! But its not all highflying powering prog, there are intervals of acoustic beauty such as track # 4: “Kithara Interludium” ...oooh, beware Steve Howe!! “Angular World” has just enough counterpoint and complex arrangements to intrigue you, a brilliant track, with some excellent guitars!! “The Lake” opening like a jungle soundtrack (sound effects) building up a fine soothing theme, with the superb vocals of Paul Seal on top!! “The Secret” an epic track (11:59 min.) again with the warm and excellent voice of Paul Seal, weaving in and out of the superb music created by fabulous guitarplayers: David Doig & Brian Moore, keyboardplayer: Thomas Doncourt and aforementioned: Bass and drum masters: Callan & Caronia, in all adding up to the excellent feature this album turned out to be !! An amazing second album! It is quite an amazement to me, how on earth these guys can reunite, after that many years and still create this monster of an album!!? I havent heard their first album, I would have loved to hear it just for the sake of comparability, but who cares, as this by all counts are masterclass progmusic..from a masterclass band!! So, I recommend this fine fare to anyone into great progressive music !!

Cathedral The Bridge