November 21, 2017

Cathedral - Forest of Equilibrium (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Doom Metal
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© 1991 Earache
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
Along with the early material chronicled on In Memorium, Forest of Equilibrium remained an artifact of Cathedral's early gloom sound before they eventually evolved into one of the more exciting heavy metal bands of the mid-'90s. Still fresh from his infamous stint as the looming vocalist for the original and most notorious grindcore band ever, Napalm Death, vocalist Lee Dorrian teams up with the guitarist duo of Garry Jennings and Adam Lehan to create some of the most lumbering heavy metal ever heard. The group takes the grinding guitar tones of grindcore and slows them down to a nearly unbearable pace capable to either hypnotizing the listener or inducing sleep. While the two guitarists churn out their doomy guitar riffs, Dorrian does his best to balance the delicate line between singing lyrics with hints of harmony and emanating deathly growls from the depths of his dark soul. Besides the guitars and vocals, the songs themselves actually deserve some recognition despite their tendency to creep along at a sometimes tedious pace. "Ebony Tears" and "Funeral Request" in particular still stand as two of the group's more memorable songs even if this early sound has since been abandoned. In addition to these two songs, "Soul Sacrifice" deserves some notice as the one song to actually up the album's tempo towards mosh-friendly levels -- though it is much better performed on the succeeding Soul Sacrifice EP. The ultra-murky sound quality of Forest of Equilibrium also makes it a unique album far different from any of the group's other releases. Like the dense layers of compressed distortion that transform the group's guitar tones into monolithic waves of bone-shaking sound, the poor sound quality gives the album a surreal sense of dense, dusty murk that nearly eclipses the music with a shroud of disorientation. This album doesn't compare to later Cathedral albums such as The Carnival Bizarre in terms of artistry or consistent style, but it does possess an undeniable aura of dark gloom that these later albums can only hope to emulate with their increasingly clean sound and hints of joy.

tags: cathedral, forest of equilibrium, 1991, flac,

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