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Cathedral - Stained Glass Stories CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 169 ratings

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4 stars A classic piece of Ameriprog at its cheesy, imitative best, Cathedral's 'Stained Glass Stories' is one of the Syn-Phonic label's resurrections and is among a few truly must-haves of the small but inspired handful of stateside bands that simply couldn't contain their enthusiasm for British and European prog. Bassist Fred Callan does a great Chris Squire, and Tom Doncourt's utterly ancient coffee-can mellotron is something to behold. Paul Seal is fine as lead singer sporting Greg Lake moaning and Derek Shulman-style overexertions, and Rudy Perrone's careful, tasteful accents of electric and acoustic guitar prove him to be an under-appreciated player. 'Introspect' starts with messy tinkering but opens out into twelve minutes of transcendently good symphonic rock, expansive, alternately powerful and delicate, finally exploding at the end with an enormous jam. Not really like any of the acts to which they're compared, more akin to some spontaneously arranged session with the best musicians that cutting-edge rock had to offer, all recorded by an unsuspecting tech trying to keep up with the unfolding creations. Or as if Squire, Howe, Dave Greenslade and Jon Hiseman met one night for some fun in the studio. 'Gong' is just as good, the contrived medieval flair of 'The Crossing' reveals a very good tune under the mud, 'Days & Changes' is a tad scattered and draggy, and very nice storybook atmosphere in 'The Search'.

Is this stuff derivative? You bet. Does the recording leave much to be desired? Oh yeah. Does it deserve its 'lost gem' status? In a big way.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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