With the Dead
With the Dead

Past Forest of Equlibrium, I consider myself a more casual Cathedral fan. The band’s later, Sabbath-y 70s, psychedelia being a occasional guilty pleasure when I want something grooooovy man. And though swansong The Last Spire was a pretty solid release, I really don’t feel drawn to Cathedral’s discography, so when Lee Dorrian announced the band was no more in 2013, I was pretty unemphatic.

Well, Dorrian got right back to it teaming with guitarist/bassist Tim Bagshaw (Serpentine Path, ex-Electric Wizard, ex-Ramesses) and current Ramesses drummer Mark Greening, (also ex Electric Wizard) to form a doom super group of sorts and as you’d expect with such a collaboration it culls from all former and current projects of the respective members to form something that’s fuzzed out, doomed out and downright fucking heavy.

And while I had a little trepidation to to my relative ambivalence about all the member’s projects, I was stunned how good With the Dead is. First off, it’s just ridiculously heavy. The Guitar tone alone could sink ships. Then you get a much less playful, less flares clad, less “Heeeey, yeahhhh, ooooooooh” and more graven, gravelly Dorrian. And the result is a crumbling, huge, loping and filing rattling album that will please fans of Cathedral and Electric Wizard but with a lot more menace.

The first two tracks “Crown of Burning Stars”, and “The Cross” have a more traditional Cathedral groove and aura (with “The Cross” actually reminding me of the start of Manowar’s “Hail to England”), albeit darker and more direct. And by direct,  there’s no 10 or 20 minute, meandering numbers or long drawn out atmospherics. I mean the songs are relatively short (6-8 minutes) with little interlude or filler, just heaps of mountainous, lumbering riffs.

Third track “Nephthys” seems to have a more Electric Wizard, stoned out crawl with some definite EW influence in the warbly solos from Bagshaw. “Living With the Dead” has a HUGE riff in the chorus and dare I say a melodic element in the solo work. Then “I am Your Virus”, adds a more psychedelic hue to the mammoth riffs and has the album’s only real sort of ambient segue, buts its a more spooky acoustic segue than any sort of lengthy interlude. Closer and album’s longest cut, “Screams from my Own Grave” is a suffocatingly heavy, sloooooooow  track that just gets heavier,  slower and more frazzled and feedback drenched, ends with speaker wrecking, bad intentions.

In all, I was very surprised with this as a relatively blind purchase, though I knew who was involved, and I at least had an inkling based on the players, but I had no idea it would be this heavy or this good. So good it might creep  (or fucking smash) it’s way onto my year end list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
December 11th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jay

    Killer review Erik. I’m a big fan of Cathedral and Electric Wizard (even if they’ve lost me some with recent recordings).

    I wasn’t sure how I felt about this one at first but it grows on me with each listen. There’s some damn solid stuff here.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    just bought this. heavy as shit.


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