Cathedral - _Supernatural Birth Machine_
by: Adrian Bromley (
Fourth album and probably the most versatile offering to date for the powerful sludge/doom metal band, _SBM_ is a cosmic and rewarding trip into the visions of lead singer/bassist Lee Dorrian, a world created around imagination and lust for emotional upheaval and domination. Much like their other works, 1995's _The Carnival Bizarre_ and 1991's thought-bending _Forest of Equilibrium_, _SBM_ rides the waves of classic doom metal pretty firmly, and the crunch of fuzzy guitar riffs meeting Dorrian's stale but raspy vocals still has an effect on the listener. Though not as heavily geared as previous works, _SBM_ does have its heavy moments, but primarily it goes for that more "laid-back" cruise mode (i.e., Fu Manchu and Kyuss). My problems with the record have to do primarily with the marketing of the band by the label, making them seem to be a "stoner band" instead of the doom metal band that they are. Look at the cover of the album (a somewhat hazy pic of the band) and tell me, does it not place an uncharacteristic portrait of the band? I think it does to some extent. The original cover artwork by brilliant artist Dave Patchett is on the inside of the album sleeve for those that want to see the original cover. A little less Cathedral-like but still flowing like a raging river when need be. Choice cuts: "Cyclops Revolution", "Fireball Demon", and "Urko's Conquest".
(article published 2/1/1997)
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