Tue 18th October 2005
Support from Grand Magus, Burning Saviours
Although I had to travel 250 miles for this show back from uni, there was no way I was going to miss it. Cathedral are a band I try and see at every opportunity, and with Swedish metal masters Grand Magus as support, this show was a must.
Being on cold medication, I couldn't drink at this show, which may explain why I remember the first band a bit more clearly. Burning Saviours [I think it was them] play hard/stoner rock in a very 70s vein, with lots of grooves to nod your head to and a nicely laidback style that's not too mellow to be boring. A good warm-up for the show. More bands should sound like this.
More bands should sound like Grand Magus as well. In these days of NME pseudo-rock bands who have all the moves down, but none of the sheer fucking balls and quality that all great rock bands naturally have, Grand Magus are a welcome reminder that great rock is anything but dead. Playing a set that mostly concentrates on their latest release 'Wolf's Return', they get the heads banging and the horns flying with their heavy, powerful riffage. A few songs from their two previous releases are included as well, such as the supremely heavy yet awesomely catchy 'Brotherhood of Sleep' and a song which I don't know, but which is so fucking good that it doesn't matter. Tracks like 'Nine' and 'Kingslayer' get the whole place rocking and shaking, and the band play with fire and spirit. The crowd love it. Closing with a monumental 'Baptised in Fire', all one can conclude is that the world needs bands like this, who aren't afraid to RRRRROOOOOCCCCKKKKK!
And in Cathedral we have another of those bands. Despite not being quite as good an experience as the last time I saw them (at the Garage in December), tonight is a very, very fucking good show from what this reviewer considers to be the best British band since Iron Maiden. I'm right down the front as they come onto the stage and surprisingly and very pleasingly tear into 'Electric Grave' (a personal favourite). I just go nuts - didn't think they'd play that song live! Next is the heavy 'Tree of Life and Death' from their latest album, 'The Garden of Unearthly Delights', and it proves that the new material comes over great live.
'Ride' follows, and this is the one that gets the crowd going, as does 'Corpsecycle', one of the best songs they've written for a while. The set lulls slightly at this point however. I knew that they were going to play some unusual songs tonight, but.... 'Heavy Load'??? What? That's their worst song! Oh well, it's better live, but still... Also new song 'Upon Azrael's Wings' is OK, but it's not that great. Something off 'Endtyme', a record that's criminally ignored by the band live, would have been better.
'Skullflower' gets my interest going again, and then a very good rendition of 'Utopian Blaster' follows. And then the rumours are confirmed. The band finish off their set with a one-off (which might explain why it's being filmed) performance of new song 'The Garden' which, at 25 minutes, is the longest thing they've ever done. Female vocals (courtesy of I think the lass from Circulus), violins, quirky weird sections and heavy doom bits.... Someone says to me later that it was somewhat "Spinal Tap". Maybe he's right... as with all epics, some bits are great and practically make me headbang the stage, but other bits just drag... but whatever. It takes balls to play something of this length to an audience (quite a few of whom, I'll bet, are unfamiliar with the song), and Cathedral have a bigger nutsack than most bands. It comes off well, overall, and as they're probably never going to do this again live, it's pretty cool to see something unique.
The band go off, but come back for the encore, and we all know what it'll be. 'Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)' closes the set and the crowd go nuts. Then it's all over and I'm left deafened, soaked in sweat, and somewhat in awe from being a foot away from Gary Jennings [/fanboy]. A great night going nuts to one of my favourite bands.