Sunday, January 27, 2013

Black Sunday: Cathedral - Gargoylian (2001) & A New Ice Age (2012)

As stoner/doom stalwarts Cathedral approach the end of their career (supposedly) with the upcoming The Last Spire, I've found myself revisiting their entire catalogue recently and, even with a few compilation items included, admire that the band have left a few choice tracks vinyl-only, at least for now.

I've collected most Cathedral, with the glaring exception of the Twylight Songs 7", and have always enjoyed the Gargoylian 7", acquired originally largely due to its Blind Dead jacket. It's fairly hard-to-find and I've accumulated three copies since buying the original via Southern Lord mail order, though all of mine are identical black vinyl (there were reportedly 2,000 pressed with 1,800 in black and 100 each in blue and gold). The vinyl itself is fairly flimsy and the jacket's lettering printed gray on gray, leaving the lyric inscrutable. The songs, "Gargoylian" and "Earth in the Grip of a Skeletal Hand," are two of Cathedral's brutal best, making this an absolute must-have for fans of the band. Gargoylian pops up on eBay every now and then and usually commands $30-40. 

A New Ice Age has been released in a multitude of colors to date, with clear, white, blue, black, purple and green currently listed on the Rise Above Records website (and black and green available for order). Mine is an icy blue 12" and, musically, provides an aggressive - almost progressive - but not-too-doomy beginning of the end for the band's recording career. It's a sturdier package than Gargoylian, in terms of both vinyl and jacket, but just as frill-free. A great painting from Dave Patchett adorns the front while the lyrical content fills the backside. It will be interesting to see if either track, "Open Mind Surgery" or "Sabbadaius Sabbatum," make it onto The Last Spire in alternate form and, no matter what, I'll be sad as hell to see Cathedral say goodbye.


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  2. Stumbled on your blog while searching "A New Ice Age" which I just found out about - I guess since I haven't been following vinyl since Ieaving NYC I missed out on this release.

    Did you ever score a copy of Twylight Songs? I can't even remember how I got mine; I think I had to mail in a form to an address they were handing out at the shows they did opening for Mercyful Fate in '93, which is the one and only time I got to see them. I regret not getting to see their later lineups live but they kept hitting the states when I was out of reach of a venue. Well, once is better than never I suppose.

    1. I have never yet scored a copy of Twylight Songs. I see it on eBay and Discogs, of course, but am still holding out hope to snag a copy in a shop someday.

      I had tickets to see Cathedral on the Carnival Bizarre tour. Got to the venue the day of the show to find the tour had been scrapped. Rumor was that Trouble had abandoned the tour and taken essential gear with them. I never got another chance to catch them again.

      A New Ice Age is definitely worth putting your hands on if you can, especially as the contents stayed independent of The Last Spire. I wouldn't hate it if they put out a posthumous odds-n-sods collecting all those one-offs but still really love these little independent slabs of vinyl.

      Thanks so much for finding the blog and taking the time to comment!