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Cathedral - Stained Glass Stories CD (album) cover

STAINED GLASS STORIES

Cathedral

 

Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 175 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
3 stars It is 1978 and the influence of Yes has reached every corner of the U.S. Five musicians longing to compose music like their famous British mentors enter a dark and cramped experimental laboratory where they volunteer to be the guinea pigs for a Matrix-like type of brain programming. One by one, each has a rod inserted into his cerebral cortex as they receive all the skill and knowledge they need to be able to compose an album just like "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and "The Gates of Delirium". Their vocalist, Paul Seal is a bit out of place. His voice sounds like Peter Gabriel trying to sing like Jon Anderson and in the end sounds like neither. Somehow, Cathedral will have to write their first album without a real Jon Anderson sound-alike.

All the musicians are talented enough to write their own original songs and music but not without first making sure that the bass sounds like Chris Squire's, the guitar sounds like Steve Howe's, and the keyboards and drums can at least pull off a reasonable facsimile of Rick Wakeman and Alan White. Just to be sure that they add their own unique touch to this reworking of Yes, keyboardist Tom Doncourt adds some horrible chorus synthesizer, which Wakeman would wisely have never done on a Yes album.

Friends, have you ever listened with spasms of joy to "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and "The Gates of Delirium" from "Relayer" and wished that Yes had recorded just one more album in that vein? And friends, knowing that they hadn't, did you ever secretly wish, feeling guilty and maybe even a little blasphemous, that another band with skill nearly matching that of Yes hadn't just come along and recorded just such an album since Yes hadn't done so? Well, friends, if you haven't heard, Cathedral did just that. In fact, they followed the Yes mould so closely that as you listen to "Stained Glass Stories" you can almost name which Yes songs certain parts were, um, influenced by. Why, just listen from the 6:10 mark of "Days and Changes" for just one of numerous examples. Sounds like Yes, no?

So, do I dislike the album? No, not really. As a Yes tribute band going off and trying their hand at composing Yes music, I think they did a great job for the most part. The vocals leave a fair bit to be desired but as they don't figure in too prominently overall it is forgivable, except for the vocal intro to "Days & Changes", which reminds me a bit of a hobbit singing to a king. "Gong" is likely my favourite track. But, yeah, there's little else to say other than "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and "The Gates of Delirium" fans rejoice as much as you will allow yourself to, knowing that if not Yes, then at least a group who really worked hard to sound like them have given us this album. I'd give them four and a half stars for the music but I think they needed to work on originality and their own sound much more. So, only three stars for being copycats. Perhaps if they'd released a second album they'd have come into their own more. Too bad they never got there.

FragileKings | 3/5 |

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