|All Artists: Cathedral|
Title: The Bridge
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 10/4/2007
Album Type: Single
Genre: Classic Rock
Style: Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Who thought these guys would ever reunite?
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 11/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cathedral was simply one of the greatest American prog rock bands ever. Back in 1978, they released Stained Glass Stories, and it's simply one of my all-time prog rock favorites. In my opinion, that album was no doubt a big inspiration of the '90s Scandinavian prog revival, and Änglagård never made it a secret that Stained Glass Stories was a big inspiration when they recorded Hybris (in fact, when I first heard Hybris in 1997, I couldn't help but be reminded of Cathedral). But of course, bad timing buried the band, 1978 wasn't exactly a great time for prog rock, after all, that was an era of ELP giving us Love Beach or Gentle Giant giving us Giant For a Day, which many feel were their worst albums. Progressive rock radio (I don't mean prog rock, but the free-form rock radio that existed in the late '60s to mid '70s, although many prog rock bands did benefit greatly from progressive rock radio) was down the tubes, and FM radio had gotten much more commercial and more interested in profits, and the AOR format was that prime example (a band like Foreigner or Journey obviously benefited greatly by the AOR format). And of course, there was disco, although punk wasn't as big in America as it was in Britain. But it was nice to see people in '78 ignore those fads and still record top quality prog, as Cathedral did.
After Cathedral disappeared their guitarist Rudy Perrone released an even more obscure album in 1981 called Oceans of Art. Few had heard this album (me included), because unlike Stained Glass Stories, that album never received a CD reissue.
But no one could have imagined a Cathedral reuinion. It actually happened. With Tom Doncourt, Paul Seal, Mercury Caronia IV, and Fred Callan. Rudy Perrone is absent, in his place is David Doig.
In 2007, they released The Bridge, 29 years after Stained Glass Stories. It's easy to be skeptical about reunions, especially from bands who hadn't seen a new album released in 20 or 30 years, and it comes off as very second-rate. But Cathedral managed to pull it off, and successfully, I may add. Well, one thing, don't expect Stained Glass Stories Revisited. But don't let that scare you off, it's that it would be really unnecessary for the band to revisit that classic album. There is a more modern sound and production, but if you think they entered neo-prog territory, think again. It's more like that "not exactly neo-prog, not exactly retro either" type of prog, the best known example I can think of would be Spock's Beard. Tom Doncourt still lays on tons of Mellotron (although a little less in your face than Stained Glass Stories), and Paul Seal's voice is still unmistakable (although I suspect other members handle vocal duties, as they sound quite different, even if they don't get the credit on the CD). It seems like Doncourt also got his hands on some digital gear as well, some of those female choruses sound like digital replications, but still the Mellotron is one of the major instruments used.
Well, I have to say the opening cut, "The Monsterhead Suite" is the big highlight of this album, showing that after nearly 30 years, Cathedral still got it in them. "Satellite" is a more straightforward number, with a bit of that King Crimson or Genesis feel. Listening to that piece again, another group that came to mind is Spock's Beard, specifically the Neal Morse-era. "Kithara Interludium" is David Doig's big solo spot, an acoustic piece emphasizing classical guitar playing. It's sorta Doig's version of Steve Howe's "Mood For a Day". "Angular World" is a bit strange name for a song title, but the group often used an angular approach in their playing as they did on Stained Glass Stories (and of course King Crimson). "The Secret", for some reason, has a bit of a Spanish feel to it.
Well, I couldn't give this album a five star rating, because this album is in no danger of beating Stained Glass Stories. I didn't expect it to. But it's still a worthy album in your prog collection, and one of the better reunion efforts you're going to hear."