Cathedral boarding their final ferry towards impending doom.
Background information
Origin Coventry, England
Genres Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Stoner Metal, Psychedelic Rock
Years active 1989 - 2013
Labels Rise Above Records, Metal Blade Records, Colombia, Earache, Nuclear Blast
Associated acts With The Dead, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Death Penalty, Penance, Pentagram, Chrome Hoof, Firebird, Trouble, The Skull, Workshed, Repulsion, Acid Reign, Cerebral Fix, Dream Death, Napalm Death, Septic Tank
Website Cathedral Coven

Cathedral were a doom metal band from Coventry, England.

Forming in 1989 and initially starting out as a doom metal band with hints of death/doom and the seminal doom of 1991's Forest of Equlibrium, the band quickly evolved into an often unpredictable mix of stoner rock, psychedelic rock, 70s hard rock and heavy metal upon signing to Columbia for The Ethereal Mirror (and later back to Earache for a handful of subsequent records). Known for their gritty low-end sound, Dave Patchett's colorful and eerie album art and frontman Lee Dorrian's distinctive voice that spoke of doom, occultism, anti-religion and mythology.

The band toured heavily over the main years of their career alongside the likes of Orange Goblin, Carcass, Entombed and Black Sabbath though in the later years of their career they would slow down to just playing festivals and often sharing the stage with bands signed to Rise Above Records, the label owned by Dorrian.

In their tenure the group managed to release ten studio albums, a host of other releases and a constantly shifting sound in what was an often unpredictable music career spanning 23 years, with their final album The Last Spire coming a year after the band performed their final shows in 2011 and 2012.


Forest of Equilibrium: The Early Years (1989 - 1992)Edit

In 1989, Lee Dorrian left Napalm Death because he was reportedly tiring of the punk scene and did not like the death metal direction which Napalm Death was taking. Cathedral was formed after Lee Dorrian and Mark Griffiths (a Carcass roadie) met and discussed their love for bands like Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Pentagram, Trouble, and Witchfinder General. The band was founded in 1989 by Dorrian, Griffiths and Garry Jennings (formerly of thrash metal band Acid Reign). Dorrian was the only founding member to remain with Cathedral for its duration, although Jennings' departure ultimately proved to be temporary. By 1990 the lineup had changed to Dorrian, Jennings, Lehan, Griffiths and drummer Ben Mochrie. The band would record a four-song demo entitled In Memorium, released in October of 1990. The band's first show took place on 12 October 1990 at the Stoker in Coventry, followed by an eleven-date tour of England alongside Saint Vitus (With one date in Scotland) and an appearance at Barnet Rock Festival. At some point going into 1991 the band would be signed by Earache Records.

The band toured, supporting Paradise Lost throughout the Netherlands, Belgium and England that spring with new drummer Mike Smail at the helm. The band would eventually record and release their debut album. Forest of Equilibrium was released via Earache on 9 December 1991 (Though in Europe it'd see release in 1992.) and has been since hailed as an essential doom album. The band would go into 1992 recording four more songs for an EP release and participate on the Gods of Grind and Campaign For Musical Destruction tours alongside a host of death metal bands, the latter of the two being the band's first American tour. The band would be offered a deal with Colombia Records much to the band's bewilderment as they closed out the year performing alongside doom bands such as The Obsessed, Saint Vitus and Trouble while working on new material.

The Carnival Bizarre: Colombia and Earache (1993 - 2001)Edit

1 February 1993 would see the release of the band's second studio album The Ethereal Mirror via Colombia and Earache, selling over 22,000 copies in the USA alone. This album took a drastic shift from the sound on Forest, evoking a nucleus of doom with elements of psychedelic rock, seventies hard rock, prog and even disco/funk. This alienated some fans who were accustomed to the borderline death/doom of the previous album. The band would tour with the likes of Sleep in Europe and Flotsam and Jetsam and Mercyful Fate for the North American leg of the tour, along with a host of shows alongside 13, Iron Man and Pentagram. With Adam Lehan and Mark Wharton both leaving the band in 1994 this left the band in a place needing various musicians to fill in for an upcoming tour with Black Sabbath. The band would recruit Scott Carlson (Repulsion, Death) on bass along with Joe Hasselvander (Pentagram, Raven) on drums and Victor Griffin (Pentagram) as a second guitarist for the tour, though Barry Stern (Trouble) would fill in on some of the dates. Eventually the band would find their new rhythm section in Leo Smee and Brian Dixon as they entered the studio to begin work on their third studio album. 1994 would also see two EP releases with similar tracklists: Statik Majik (Europe, 5 April 1994) and Cosmic Requiem (30 August 1994), featuring leftovers from The Ethereal Mirror and the 22-minute multi-chapter piece "Voyage of the Homeless Sapien".

Touring Europe again with the likes of Kataklysm, Brutal Truth and Deicide would lead up to the release of the band's third album The Carnival Bizarre, released on Earache on 29 September 1995 to positive acclaim. With a blend of doom and hard rock, a guest spot by one Tony Iommi and a video for "Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)" solidified The Carnival Bizarre as one of Cathedral's penultimate releases, with Hopkins being a hit among fans. The band initially had an ill-fated tour with Trouble in the US before touring with Crowbar, Anathema and Paradise Lost in support of the record that fall. A standalone EP of Hopkins would see release the next year on 9 April 1996. The band spent that year touring Japan, Australia, the United States and Europe as the band released their fourth album Supernatural Birth Machine on 12 November 1996. The band would ease up the relentless touring in 1997 but still perform in Japan, Australia and the UK with Hawkwind and Arthur Brown. Cathedral would focus their efforts on their next record in the meantime.

By August 1998 the band would announce their next album in the form of Caravan Beyond Redemption, revealing their tracklist through their newly created webpage. Despite listing a 1999 release, the album was released on 6 December 1998 to positive reviews and using a Japanese Bonus Track ("Black Sunday") as the music video for the album. 1999 would lead to the band going on a world tour, beginning with the Cosmic Caravan with Orange Goblin before following with appearances in Ireland, Greece, Japan, Australia and the first three editions of a fresh new festival known as Roadburn. The band also contributed to the European edition of the ECW Extreme Music compilation, re-issued In Memoriam on Rise Above Records and the Music Cartel and released a longform video of all of the band's videos to that point entitled Our God Has Landed. Cathedral's touring would slow in 2000 as the group focused their efforts on their next album.

Endtyme was released on 26 February 2001 to positive reviews. In a drastic departure from recent records the band returned to a grimy doom metal sound ala Forest of Equlibrium and even featured artwork by Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O)))) rather than mainstay Dave Patchett (Though he would contribute art to the Japanese edition of the album). A 7" single as part of Southern Lord Records' Seven Inches of Doom series entitled Gargoylian saw release on 13 March 2001. The band would support Endtyme on the live stage by touring the UK with Hangnail, touring Europe and Japan the next month and then embarking on a two month European tour with Entombed. By the end of the year, Cathedral would cut ties with Earache Records.

The Guessing Game: Dream Catcher and Nuclear Blast (2002 - 2010)Edit

Having departed from Earache after nearly ten years on and off with the label, the band would sign to Dream Catcher. Closing out 2002 the band would tour the UK with Electric Wizard and perform at the Stoned Wizard Festival in France.[1] The VIIth Coming was released on 21 October 2002 to positive reviews, further following on the doomier, darker side of the band but with a more contrast in terms of song consistency. The band would tour Europe and the USA (Their last USA tour) in 2003 alongside black/gothic metal band Samael in support of the record. Not long after the band would sign to Nuclear Blast, ironically even hinting at it in a 2003 interview with Scott Crawford.[2] Cathedral signed with Nuclear Blast in July 2003.[3] The band would start work on their eighth album while touring Europe in support of HIM on a tour of Europe in 2004. On 21 June 2004 Earache Records would release The Serpent's Gold, a double-disc compilation featuring a best-of (The Serpent's Treasure) and a disc of unreleased songs (The Serpent's Chest) featuring demos, rarities and unreleased songs.

Now signed to Nuclear Blast, the band would release their eighth album The Garden of Unearthly Delights (Originally intended to be named as "Seeds of Decay" with a mostly different track list.)[4] to positive reviews. This album would mesh with doom, seventies rock and was topped off by the near 30-minute multigenre piece "The Garden", which the band actually performed live with Circulus as a backing act on on 14 October 2005 at The Camden Underworld.[5] In an interview with Chronicles of Chaos, Lee Dorrian would explain the process of the making of the album and state that "Cathedral aren't going to be around forever".[6]

A proposed tour with Candlemass and Grand Magus would be intended but ultimately called off.[7] However with Electric Wizard being added into the mix in place of Candlemass this tour would happen in 2006 as the Doomed Trinity. The band followed with a host of festival appearances[8], including Japan (Loud Park)[9] and Mexico (Monterrey Metal Fest)[10]. From there the band took what was billed as a "mental break" and the live performances would become sporadic over the next three years, namely appearances at Hard Rock Laager (Estonia, 2007), Damnation Festival (2008), Roadburn Festival (2009), HellFest (2009), Kolbetasonik (Spain, 2009), Legends of Chaos (Three Dates in Italy, 2009) and Wacken Open Air (2009). 2008 and 2009 would also see Earache reissues of The Carnival Bizarre[11], Forest of Equlibrium[12] and The Ethereal Mirror[13]. The Carnival Bizarre would contain Our God Has Landed as a bonus while the latter two records reissued in that order featured EP tracks and original documentaries on their respective albums as bonuses.

On 28 October 2009, Cathedral would announce they were set to release their ninth studio album, working again with producer Warren Riker.[14] Details would later reveal this new release would actually be a 13-track double album.[15] The Guessing Game would be released on on 26 March 2010 to positive reception, proving to be one of Cathedral's most eclectic and exotic efforts with sounds ranging from prog, psych, hard rock, doom and more. The band would tour the UK and Ireland with The Gates of Slumber and Church of Misery and later Europe (Again with The Gates of Slumber) as a whole that year. On 3 December 2010, Cathedral would perform a 20th Anniversary show with two sets: A set with the original lineup performing Forest of Equilibrium in it's entirety and a second set with the current lineup performing a career-spanning set.[16]

The Last Spire: The End of Cathedral (2011 - 2013)Edit

On 6 February 2011, Cathedral would announce they were to make their "retirement" from the scene, with their final shows set for that year and to record their final studio album in 2012.[17] Leo Smee would also depart from the group and be replaced by Scott Carlson as the band's bassist. Cathedral would essentially embark on a worldwide farewell tour, performing two dates in Japan, at Maryland Deathfest in the USA, two dates in Brazil, the Czech Republic, Finland and two days in Greece (One date in Germany at Hammer of Doom was intended but canceled due to conflicts with the festival organizers). This would build up to Cathedral's final show at the CMV Forum in London on 3 December 2011 alongside Gentlemans Pistols, Grand Magus and Comus. Despite being billed in their home country as their final show, the band would perform seven more shows in Australia as part of the Soundwave touring festival. Cathedral's last live performance was on 5 March 2012 at the Claremont Showgrounds in Perth, Western Australia.

Observing this final album as a planned funeral for the band, Cathedral was free to record and finish the album throughout 2012 on their own terms. To further bring things full circle Cathedral opted to release the album on Dorrian's label Rise Above Records, the same label that would reissue the band's first demo. A flexi for album outtake Vengeance of The Blind Dead was released in the February 2013 issue of Decibel. The Last Spire was released on 29 April 2013 to significant praise for the band's return to their doomed roots ala Forest and evoking a dark epitaph for the band, devoid of anything resembling a happy ending.

In an April 2013 interview with NoiseCreep, Dorrian, along with describing the finality of The Last Spire, stated that there will not be a Cathedral reunion, at the time focusing entirely on running Rise Above Records:

The end prompted that I suppose. We wanted it to sound final. We wanted it to be more focused than before and once we realized that was the style it was going to be it just enabled the situation to become more focused. It was almost like writing your last will and testament. We had a couple years prior to recording where we announced that we were going to call it a day so it gave us plenty of time to get our heads around it and figure out how we wanted the record to be.

I think the way that we’ve planned the end of the band we feel really good about. It’s not like we had a massive fight and the band broke up under bad circumstances. We’ve had lots of time to actually enjoy the end. It’s really been a nice way to go. It’s ironic, you break up and you start getting loads of press! [Laughs] Where were you guys when we were around? We’re getting front covers of magazines now! Everyone comes out to your funeral I suppose.

(On the Reunion)Never. We’re now getting offered loads of money to do reunion gigs. It’s absolutely stupid They really think that they can offer us 30 or 40 grand and think we’re going to go “Yeah, we’re gonna take the money”. They totally missed the point. The band means more to us than that. It’s over and that’s it. I’m 45. If I was 25,or 30, the possibility might be there to do a reunion. In ten years I’m going to be 55. It’s just not going to happen.

— Lee Dorrian, NoiseCreep [18]

In June 2015, Rise Above Records would re-issue In Memoriam in a similar package to the 1999 Rise Above / Music Cartel re-issue, but with a DVD of an additional live performance circa 1991 in Holland. In an interview with Metal Underground, along with discussing the demo and early touring days, Gaz also ruled out a Cathedral reunion:

You never say never in this day and age. I think the chances of us getting back together are very, very slim. Lee’s moved on. He’s doing his label. He’s got other things in the pipeline. I don’t think he wants to do it anymore. It was between Lee and me and more so Lee. I thought about it for a couple of years on how the enthusiasm wasn’t there. I think when you’re not one hundred percent committed and enthusiastic it starts to tell. Towards the end for the pair of us we had been together since day one. Our drummer, Brian [Dixon] didn’t see it the same way. I think he would have kept going and going. We’ve been there since the beginning and the band meant much more to us than churning out one record after another without any thought in it. I’m not saying it was becoming tiring but we had pretty much achieved what we wanted to do. I don’t know if there was really anywhere else for us to go after the last record. We talked about it if we call it quits we do one more heavy album. There is never going to be another “Forest of Equilibrium,” but it was an updated or similar sort of thing. Try and end like that. At least you know you’re going out with a record you like made specifically to finish on. The reason the band finished was that, really. We’ve done what we needed to do and I don’t think there was really anywhere else for us to go. Lee was the same. We felt the time was right.

Once you lose the enthusiasm and you don’t have one hundred percent enthusiasm then it’s better to get out. You see a lot of bands over the years keep putting out one record after another. You think why are they doing that. Stop and have some sort of legacy so you have something to look back on rather than keep churning out records. I’m not saying that every Cathedral record is brilliant because some of them are really good. Some of them could have been better than what they turned out to be. You always try your best at the time. It just doesn’t happen sometimes. We made some really good records and we made some that are just ok, not the greatest. I can’t ever see us playing together again because say in ten years time someone asks us if we want to do a Cathedral reunion, lots of bands do get back together, but I mean by that time we would all be in our mid-fifties. I don’t know, I just can’t see us doing it. At this moment in time, I’ve played songs like “Ride” and “Hopkins” and “Midnight Mountain” for years. I don’t miss playing them to tell you the truth. It’s kind of a weight or burden off my shoulders. I don’t mean it like that. It’s almost like “whew, I don’t have to play “Ride” for the millionth time. I don’t mean it in a bad way. I’m sure Lemmy had to play “Ace of Spades” thousands of times and “Paranoid” and “Smoke on the Water.” I’m not saying “Ride” is in that type of context but “Ride,” “Hopkins” and “Midnight Mountain” were the songs everyone associated us with. I don’t really miss playing them. It’s a kind of semi-relief. I really don’t see us playing them again and us getting back together. It would ruin the legacy of what we’ve done in the past.

— Gaz Jennings, Metal Underground [19]

All of the recent members of Cathedral have since went on to other bands in some capacity:

  • Lee Dorrian would remain active running Rise Above Records but also record an EP and perform live with a new hardcore band named Septic Tank. On Halloween 2014, he would form With The Dead with Electric Wizard members Mark Greening and Tim Bagshaw, releasing two albums in 2015 and 2017 with sporadic shows in 2016 and 2018. Septic Tank would also release a studio album in 2018.
  • Gaz Jennings would still work in some capacity for Rise Above Records and perform guitar with Lucifer (2014 - 2017), Death Penalty (Who formed in 2013) and Septic Tank (Who re-formed in 2012).
  • Brian Dixon would eventually join The Skull, initially as a touring drummer for the band's 2016 European tour and then full-time with the band as of 2017. He would record drums for the band's second album The Endless Road Turns Dark, released in 2018.


Studio AlbumsEdit

Live AlbumsEdit


Compilations/Misc. ReleasesEdit


  • Gaz Jennings - Guitars (1989-2013), Bass (1993-1994), Keyboards (1994-1996)
  • Lee Dorrian - Vocals (1989-2013)
  • Brian Dixon - Drums (1994-2013)
  • Scott Carlson - Bass (1994, 2011-2013)
  • Andy Baker - Drums (1989)
  • Mark Griffiths - Guitar (1989 - 1990, 2010), Bass (1990 - 1992)
  • Adam Lehan - Guitar (1989 - 1994, 2010)
  • Ben Mochrie - Drums (1990)
  • Mike Smail - Drums (1991, 2010)
  • Leo Smee - Bass (1994 - 2010), Guitars (2010)
  • David "Munch" Moore - Keyboards, Effects (Live) (2003 - 2013)
  • Mark Ramsay Wharton - Drums (1992 - 1994), Keyboards (1992)
  • Mike Hickey - Bass (Live)(1992 - 1993)
  • Victor Griffin - Guitar (Live)(1994)
  • Joe Hasselvander - Drums (Live)(1994)
  • Barry Stern - Drums (1994) (Live) (Died 2005)
  • Dave Hornyak - Drums (1995) (Live)
  • Max Edwards - Bass (2003 - 2004) (Live)


  • 1990 UK Tour (With Saint Vitus, S.O.B.) (1990)
  • Forest of Equilibrium European Tour (With Paradise Lost) (1991)
  • May 1991 UK Tour (With Morbid Angel, Sadus) (1991)
  • Gods of Grind (With Carcass, Confessor, Entombed) (1992)
  • Children of Doom Tour (With Saint Vitus) (1992)
  • Campaign For Musical Destruction (With Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Carcass) (1992)
  • Tolling The Bells Of Morosemas (Israel) (With Napalm Death) (1992)
  • Tolling The Bells Of Morosemas (Europe) (With The Obsessed, Trouble, Crowbar, Napalm Death) (1992)
  • The Ethereal Mirror European Tour (With Sleep, Penance; select dates with Fear Factory, Cannibal Corpse) (1993)
  • The Ethereal Mirror Japan Tour (With Brutal Truth) (1993)[20]
  • The Ethereal Mirror USA Tour (With Flotsam and Jetsam, Mercyful Fate, Anacrusis, Fight) (1993)
  • December 1993 USA Mini-Tour (With Pentagram, Iron Man, 13
  • Cross Purposes European Tour (With Black Sabbath, Godspeed) (1994)
  • Spring 1995 European Tour (With Brutal Truth, Deicide, Kataklysm) (1995)
  • Spring 1995 USA Tour (With Trouble) (1995)[21]
  • The Carnival Bizarre Tour (With Crowbar, Anathema, Paradise Lost) (1995)
  • 1996 Australasia Tour (With Paradise Lost) (1996)
  • Supernatural Birth Machine USA Tour (With Trouble) (1996)
  • Supernatural Birth Machine European Tour (With My Dying Bride) (1996)
  • 1997 Australasia Tour (With Arch Enemy) (1997)
  • 1997 Fall UK Tour (With The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Hawkwind, Lene Lovich) (1997)
  • Cosmic Caravan (With Orange Goblin, Terra Firma) (1999)[22]
  • 1999 Ireland and Greece Mini-Tour (1999)
  • 1999 Japan Tour (With Orange Goblin) (1999)
  • 1999 Australian Tour (1999)
  • March 2001 UK Tour (With Hangnail) (2001)
  • April 2001 Europe/Japan Tour (2001) (with Hangnail) (2001)[23]
  • 2001 European Tour (With Entombed) (2001)[24]
  • 7th Coming November Tour (With Electric Wizard) (2002)[25]
  • Winter 2003 European Tour (With Samael) (2003)[26]
  • Redemption 2003 USA Tour (With Samael, Strapping Young Lad) (2003)[27]
  • 2004 Greece / Sweden Mini-Tour (2004)[28]
  • Wacken Warm-Up Mini Tour (2004)[29]
  • 2004 European Tour (With HIM) (2004)
  • The Garden of Unearthly Delights European Tour (2005)[30]
  • The Garden of Unearthly Delights UK Tour (With Cradle of Filth) (2005)[31]
  • Doomed Trinity (With Electric Wizard, Grand Magus) (2006)[32]
  • The Guessing Game UK / Ireland Tour (With The Gates of Slumber, Church of Misery) (2010)[33]
  • The Guessing Game European Tour (With The Gates of Slumber) (2010)[34]
  • 20th Anniversary Show (2010)
  • Cathedral's Farewell (2011/2012)
  • The Farewell Show (With Gentlemans Pistols, Grand Magus, Cressida; Comus intended but dropped off.) (2011)

External / Archival LinksEdit


  1. BlabbermouthAccessed 14 December 2017
  2. ScottCrawford.comAccessed 14 December 2017
  3. Blabbermouth
  4. BlabbermouthAccessed 14 December 2017
  5. Blabbermouth
  6. Chronicles of ChaosAccessed 14 December 2017
  7. Blabbermouth
  8. Blabbermouth
  9. Blabbermouth
  10. Blabbermouth
  11. Blabbermouth
  12. Blabbermouth
  13. Blabbermouth
  14. Blabbermouth
  15. Blabbermouth
  16. Blabbermouth
  17. Blabbermouth
  18. NoiseCreepCathedral’s Lee Dorrian on the Band Ending, How Their Former Label Tried to Make Them the Next Black Crowes, Accessed 14 December 2017
  19. Metal UndergroundGaz Jennings of Cathedral: All That We Wanted To Do Was Follow Our Love For The Slower Bands., Accessed 14 December 2017
  20. Facebook
  21. Lee Dorrian's FacebookAccessed 30 January 2018
  22. Cathedral Coven via Wayback Machine
  23. Hangnail Fan Page
  24. Cathedral Coven via Wayback Machine
  25. Blabbermouth
  26. Cathedral Coven 2003
  27. Cathedral Coven 2003
  28. BlabbermouthAccessed 14 December 2017
  29. Blabbermouth
  30. Blabbermouth
  31. Blabbermouth
  32. Blabbermouth
  33. Blabbermouth
  34. Blabbermouth
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