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Cathedral - Stained Glass Stories CD (album) cover

STAINED GLASS STORIES

Cathedral

 

Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 115 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Cathedral come in for a lot of praise as one of the great lost prog acts of American prog. And as is so often the case with obscure albums that slip off the radar and are rediscovered, it suffers from an over-rating that rarity often confers. The playing is solid, the music tasteful and clever but the vocals, oh dear, oh dear, the vocals. Singer Paul Seal sounds like he's juggling marbles in his choirboy little voice. He sounds like a pub-contralto. His voice is hideous: pompous, mannered and lacking any real ability or grasp of melody. Around him the musicians are pushing themselves hard and the intro section of the 12-minute 'Instrospect' is great, as is the mid-section where the rhythm section are in top form, setting up a whirling dervish percussion and bass segment, washed over by some lovely mellotron and guitar. But as soon you're once again coming round to the idea of Cathedral as lost heroes of the American prog scene, the Seal wades back in with his cod-operatic voice, ruining a perfectly good sequence. You get some real respite with the second track 'Gong' a great 7 minute instrumental, the band wisely deciding to kick Seal to touch on this, which is the album's standout track. It is a shame. If they'd ditched Seal and recorded an instrumental album, or ditched him for someone of talent, it would genuinely be a lost classic. As it is 'Stained Glass Stories' is merely an interesting curio. Instrumentally extremely interesting but utterly undermined by the horrible vocals. There was a reason why Cathedral recorded a single album and his name, I fear, was Paul Seal.
arcer | 3/5 |

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