The Seventh Coming

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Having been called behind the times for much of its existence, it comes as no surprise that even after the revivalist movement of Stonehenge rockers came and went faster than you can say Man's Ruin, Cathedral neither achieved a commercial breakthrough, nor did they decide to call it a day. The former is an unsurprising bit of a shame; the latter is a blessing, since The VIIth Coming is as good a record the band has ever made, one that lacks the filler of many of the band's releases, even if it also is devoid of a signature track that stands out as a keeper. Lee Dorrian has all but abandoned his trademark menacing growl, leaving in its place a less-distinctive but much easier-on-the-ear singing voice that doesn't need to be buried in the mix as on the band's previous releases, and isn't. The musical output has a more subtle charge; sure, the Black Sabbath is still there, but the keyboards layered underneath the riff of "The Empty Mirror" and in the foreground of "Nocturnal Fist" seem a lot closer to Uriah Heep, and there are nods to more modern influences as well, such as on "Iconoclast," which sounds like slowed-down, grunged-out Pantera.

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