Cathedral Discography – Lee Dorrian talks Terrorizer through

By on 21 March 2013

Cathedral Discography Talkthrough with Lee Dorrian

In April Cathedral release their final album ‘The Last Spire’. This month frontman Lee Dorrian graces Terrorizer’s cover for the band’s first (and final) cover and right here he reflects back on the Cathedral Discography.

‘Forest Of Equilibrium’ (1991)Forest of Equilibrium300

“I’m still just amazed that we recorded it, because the odds were so stacked up against us doing something like that. When we first started the band, our only ambition was only to do a demo, based on the Amando de Ossorio films, like ‘Tombs Of The Blind Dead’. When we realised that things were going to happen and that we would actually do an album, with more people involved in the band, it was strange times… we were living the lifestyle, moulding ourselves into everything that album represented. We were very nihilistic, though we entertained ourselves and had fun, all the emotions that come across on that album are very genuine. It’s a landmark album, and probably the most important album we’ve ever done. It’s my favourite, too. Having said that, ‘The Last Spire’ gets very close, but it’s too early to tell.”

The Ethereal Mirror300 ‘The Ethereal Mirror’ (1993)

“It was a very difficult second album. I didn’t feel comfortable with the way the band had changed. Like I’ve said, if ‘The Last Spire’ would have been our second album, I would have been happy. But the way the band was changing, it wasn’t much what I wanted to do. You can tell on ‘Soul Sacrifice’, there’s a bigger jump from ‘Forest Of Equilibrium’ to that, than from that to this. The musicianship in Cathedral advanced so quickly that the writing and the riffs became a lot more competent, a lot more technical, in a very short space of time. ‘The Ethereal Mirror’ has a much more classic heavy metal sound, with 70s influences and some psychedelic twitches that really weren’t there on the first album. It showed the dexterity of the band, but at the time I just wanted to play slow, I didn’t want to do the 70s stuff so much, though I was really into it. I just felt it was a big leap for the band. But that’s how I felt at the time. Now, on reflection, I think that’s it’s a fantastic record, certainly one of our best.”


The Carnival Bizarre300‘The Carnival Bizarre’ (1995)

“It’s got much more of a raw feel to it, and although it’s got more of a far-out kind of psych aspect in the lyrics and some of the songs, it felt really natural to us. I think there’s a good vibe on that record, and I would say that it’s on my top four of favourite Cathedral records.”

Supernatural Birth Machine300‘Supernatural Birth Machine’ (1996)

“I’ve never been a massive fan of that album, for various reasons. I don’t think we were ready to record. We were on a tour around the world and then we came home and we had two weeks until we entered the studio, we didn’t have time to write it, I didn’t have any lyrics that I was comfortable with… I actually left the band three days before we went into the studio, just because I was so pissed off that we were being forced to do something that we weren’t ready to do. Some people say it’s their favourite album, but to me it feels like something that’s not really finished. There’s some killer riffs on it and everything, but if it had been recorded five or six months later I would probably be much happier with it.”


Caravan Beyond Redemption300‘Caravan Beyond Redemption’ (1998)

“I think it’s got some great songs, but there are too many songs overall, there’s three or four that shouldn’t have been on there at all. We got to the point where we were just trying loads of different styles and doing what we wanted to do without giving it too much consideration. We were trying to make every song different, and I think it’s a really ambitious album, though I thought at that time that we were unpredictable, yes, but predictably unpredictable. If that makes sense. We were so unusual that we were kind of obvious, that’s why I said I wasn’t going to do another record unless we did something radically different. Which was…”

Endtyme300 ‘Endtyme’ (2001)

“…where I just wanted to smash it all up and start again. We were five albums down the line and I thought we had started to sound safe, and that’s something I’ve always been against. I hate complacency, it’s something that scares me more than life itself. It’s not something you should ever feel, especially in terms of art. We had to take risks, and I realised that we could have destroyed everything by making ‘Endtyme’, but I also felt that it was something we had to do, in the same way that the breaking up is something we had to do. The significance is similar, because this was also the end of a chapter and the start of a new one, in many aspects. Then again, the album after this was a bit more complacent again.”

The VIIth Coming300 ‘The VIIth Coming’ (2002)

“On ‘Endtyme’ I was just so insistent, I was having fights with everyone in the band, that we had to strip it back down and be raw, that I didn’t want to be so insistent on the next one again, and that’s something that I regret in a way. I think this is a good album, but it’s back to being nice-sounding again. I don’t specifically object to that, but I like albums with a bit more of an edge to them. But sometimes this needs to happen, too. You don’t always feel in the mood to do something edgy. When you’ve been around for so long, what you imagine the music to be and what it really is can be two really different things, because you’re so immersed in your own little world.”

The_Garden_of_Unearthly_Delights300‘The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ (2005)

“I think there’s a lot of focus, a lot of drive on that record. We had been away for a while, it was one of those periods when the band kind of fell apart. Leo [Smee, bass] had been away for some time and then he came back, and there were a couple of years of disillusion. We actually wrote two albums, but we scrapped a lot of material and just started all over again. By the time we went into the studio we were quite charged up, our batteries had been recharged and we were ready to go. All the songs were tight and we had a lot of fun recording it, especially the long song [‘The Garden’]. But when we finished those sessions, we thought we were going to call it quits. We didn’t know how to follow that.”

The Guessing Game300


‘The Guessing Game’ (2010)

“We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we were calling it quits, there were a couple of years where we didn’t have anything to do with the band, we didn’t do any gigs and we didn’t communicate with each other, not about the band at least. Me and Gaz eventually had a talk and he came down to my place with his guitar for a few days to see if we had any ideas. Essentially what we did was come up with a load of tracks that were full-on doom, but we felt that it wasn’t the right thing to do. We wanted to do something more adventurous, more ambitious, something really varied like we had always wanted to do but had never done. I think it’s a very good album, but it didn’t quite achieve its potential, the main problem being the mix, which maybe one day we will rectify. But I’m still really happy with it and it’s one of my favourites, I’m not really regretful of anything on it.”


Cathedral on FaceBook

Read more about what Lee Dorrian says in Terrorizer #234

WORDS: José Carlos Santos

About Miranda Yardley

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