Doom, baby, pure adulterated doom. That is the moral of the story on Cathedral's latest opus The VIIth Coming, which should be good news to followers of this veteran metal outfit. The fires of vintage Black Sabbath run bright throughout the CD's ten tracks, so if you dig brutallly slow and heavy power chord dirges, graveyard tested nasal vocals, and a plodding rhythm section, then please, read on.
Tracks like "Skullflower" (with its amazingly ponderous "death march" opening section), "Phoenix Rising", and "Resisting the Ghost" are all mind-numbing examples of prime doom/stoner rock at its best. We are not talking about the technical mania of prog-metal, this is sludge and roll folks, with walls of brutal guitar chords that never end, much like classic Sabbath albums Master of Reality or Paranoid. On some tunes, like "Nocturnal Fist" and "The Empty Mirror", the band picks up the pace a bit for a speedier attack, but the results are no less inspiring. As you can guess by the song titles, the lyrics deal with horror themes and the macabre, which only help add a dark tone to the precedings. I dare any loyal headbanger to get through the rhinosaurus roar of "Iconoclast" without pumping his or her fist through the air and banging thy head in glorious fury! The same can be said for the terrific "Black Robed Avenger", which starts off at break-neck pace with blistering guitar leads, but then slows down to a doomy crawl that will get the air-guitar freak in all of us out to the surface. Perhaps the one confusing track here is the bizarre "Congregation of Sorcerers", which seems to be a tribute to Celtic Frost, complete with Tom G. Warrior inspired grunts and shouts. Those who are familiar with Celtic Frost will do a double take after hearing a few "Hey Hey's" and "Oooh" on this track.
As I've said, the legacy of Black Sabbath is alive and well here. Cathedral need to be commended for keeping this style alive for so many years. The VIIth Coming is a fun disc, and a headbangers delight.