Cathedral

Cathedral

Caravan Beyond Redemption

Earache

Cathedral’s album covers have always been of the carnival bizarre variety (hell, its 1995 album is even called that), but Caravan Beyond Redemption ‘s one doesn’t even come close to the weirdness contained within. It finally appears that Cathedral has hit the hookah for far too long.

What earmarks Caravan as such an oddball is the extensive evolution Cathedral has undergone in its near decade-long existence. Oppressively and depressively, the band’s debut album, Forest of Equilibrium , chugged to a much different tune, a molten lava monolith of slower-than-Sabbath proportions that’s merely hinted at on two Caravan cuts, “Satanikus Robotikus” and “Dust of Paradise.” Abandoning the boom-boom-crunch ethic years ago, Cathedral now prudently rocks with a thump and a swagger, lassoing the ’70s in the form of Deep Purple and Hawkwind and, in turn, slinging it to the ear-aching youth of today.

The rest of the Cathedral’s newest riffathon finds the band bluesfully boogying somewhere between early Danzig and modern Monstermagnet, the hardest evidence of said copious marijuana inhalation. Psychedelic per usual, the requisite Cathedral song titles are still present (“Kaleidoscope of Desire,” “Captain Klegg,” “The Omega Man”), but we now find frontman Lee Dorrian espousing “Revolution” and “Freedom,” which is fine by me considering he’s quietly grown into the open-shirted, smoking-on-the-water role.

Beyond redemption? Not likely — Caravan Beyond Redemption just proves that even the most frazzled of doom-mongers eventually grow up, burn out, and rock on.

Earache America, 295 Lafayette St, Ste 915, New York, NY 10012-2700; http://www.earache.com

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