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Cathedral – The Guessing Game

July 5, 2010

Genuinely one of the few bands I love to hate, Cathedral surprise me now and again with the odd good song. The main issue I have with them is that they sound like a group of Stella-quaffers who decided to form a band one Friday night after playing that one Black Sabbath song on guitar.

In the twenty odd years since Lee Dorrian swapped speed for grass, Cathedral have always produced a very working class sounding album. Cerebral Fix have a very similar vibe, no surprising as their members overlap with each other and early hardcore pioneers Crass and Discharge. Despite the middle aged angriness, there’s some decent riffs on offer on The Guessing Game, but they’re spread too thin. The title track is odd in it’s own right, and the nine minute Running Man is spread with Jethro Tullisms that are wildly out of place; it’s almost like they weren’t sure what to do with this record.

I found TGG to be a very uncomfortable listen, something I’ve not often experienced. I found Electric Wizard’s Dopethrone easier listening.  Doom isn’t exactly the primary candidate for throwing in prog elements, and maybe my mind is too clouded to see into whatever ether is puffing out of the hash pipe, but it quite simply doesn’t work. Whenever it decides to go big and riffy, you think “YES! Give me more!”, Requiem for the Voiceless being a very nice exception.

Cathedral is a bunch of guys wanting to be Black Sabbath. I can appreciate that to an extent, but  The Guessing Game is mediocre at best, and certainly far behind the leaders of the genre, and not up to much when compared to their own work either.

4/10

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