And lo, Lee Dorrian, mouthpiece of Cathedral for 23 years, doth solemnly intone the death rites of this mighty British metal Titan. Born in the dying days of Thatcher's Britain, bonding over then-unfashionable, obscure names like Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Trouble and Dream Death, Cathedral's sole ambition was to record a demo tape. In fact they revolutionised doom metal, first pushing their influences into new avenues of grinding extremity, then pioneering groovier forms of '70s-indebted stoner doom.
They've remained a reassuring and singular presence in our lives, building a rabid following worldwide with their wholly distinctive blend of rollicking British heavy metal, true doom, 70s hard rock, psych-folk, mad prog and spiky crust-punk. There was a worrying hiatus between 2005 and 2010 when some dared to wonder if Cathedral were coming back at all - but they re-emerged with 'The Guessing Game', an overflowing treasure chest of weird and wonderful goodies exploring new, bold variations on their craft. So when news came that Cathedral really were approaching the Endtyme, it was a shock.¬
"Personally speaking, this is the album I've been waiting to do since the first one (their landmark 1991 debut, Forest of Equilibrium), it almost feels like we made our second album last in some respects. We actually recorded a lot more material but decided to sacrifice many of the tracks to make the overall album feel more complete in its nihilism. I don't like happy endings, I never have. So many good films are ruined by happy endings and I didn't want that to be the case with Cathedral, it was my dream to bring everything full circle." Says Lee Dorrian.
Clearly there was new impetus for reconnecting with that early spirit of doleful abjection, of sinister obsessions and lamented desires; on 'The Last Spire' Cathedral are literally doomed. We are commiserating the celebration, and in what thrilling style.