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5 stars This is not Stained Glass Stories II although the band is totally recognizable. The recording is much better than the first album, obvious that they had a bigger budget this time. The new guitarist is fine- I think he has a more original sound than the first guy. Love the songs and think the band has a greta Progressive direction
Report this review (#140118)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Really no-one can enter the same water twice. But seriously great is the work made by these musicians. Although no connection is visible (hearable) to the Stained Glass Stories made so long ago, sound is quite pretty, easy acceptable and contemporary indeed. Real prog-music for the 2007! Listening gives a pleasure. Who needs more?
Report this review (#147836)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars Talk about procrastination. I think these guys hold the record. I mean it only took them almost three decades to record a follow up to their 1978 debut. Honestly, you have got to give CATHEDRAL a lot of credit. "Stained Glass Stories" may have garnered critical acclaim, but it wasn't exactly a huge hit. However, renewed interest in it did cause a reformation. So, what can you expect from a band that only recorded one obscure album, and waited this long to do it again? Will they sound the same? Will they even be any good at all? Well, the answers are no, and a resounding yes. They have come back sounding as if they have been at it all along, evolving along the way. If I were not familiar with them, I would be thinking that I was hearing the latest album from a band with a long recording history. Where bands that have been recording for decades sound a bit stale (*cough* Yes), CATHEDRAL sounds fresh, and of the time. There is still a strong King Crimson influence, but it is latter day KC. There is mellotron, but it is being used in the spirit of present day artists like Deluge Grander. Amazingly, they have accomplished this with the lineup mostly intact, having made only one change in personnel.

They did follow a bit of the original formula, by book ending the album with epics. However, this time the opener and closer are musically unrelated. What they have done is created modern symphonic greatness. The blending of old and new techniques works flawlessly. The playing is as good as it gets, and the compositions demand recognition.

"The Monsterhead Suite" is an epic melange of beauty and quirky darkness. It will also give you your mellotron fix for the next month.

"Satellite" may be catchy, but don't worry. It's the kind of catchy thing that prog fans love. In other words, you friends will still think it's weird.

"Hollins" takes you into a bit of space territory, but there is also an almost flamenco style guitar running through most of it. When electric, you can hear a bit of Gilmour influence. The vocal is melancholy, and serves the piece well.

"Kithara Interludium" is a beautiful acoustic number (Hackett anyone?).

"Angular World" is just what the name implies. This is full on modern King Crimson territory.

"The Lake" starts with a strong World Music vibe and then gradually transforms. By the end, it is firmly in symphonic land, but never quite loses that world essence.

"The Secret" is the closing epic, and the feet are now firmly planted in the new millennium. I mentioned Deluge Grander before, and I don't know if they have been listening to Dan Briton's stuff or not. If they haven't, then they have been listening to the same stuff that influenced Dan. Here CATHEDRAL clearly establishes itself as a band of the present.

It's called the "The Bridge" to refer to the gap that was bridged between albums. Not only have they done that, but they have also bridged the evolutionary gap. This is a fantastic album, and stands completely on it's own from their previous work. I love them both, and I would if were two different bands (it almost sounds as if it is). CATHEDRAL has made an extremely strong new beginning, and this time prog is on the upswing. I look forward to more. This one will be on my list for best of 2007.

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#150791)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Releasing your sophmore album 29 years after your debut is a pretty rare thing but never the less this is what Cathedral have done. I found Cathedralīs debut to be really exciting allthough it was very unpolished and even though many things have happened in 29 years itīs easy to hear that this is the same band playing. The King Crimson influences are still strong but mostly because Paul Seal sounds a bit like Wetton. Paul Seal is a much better singer than Wetton though. I can also hear influences from Genesis here and there. This is retro prog without a doubt.

The music is very complex with many sections in every song. Especially songs like Monsterhead and Hollins have many different parts. Itīs not like the tempo is very high though itīs more the structure of the songs which are complex. There are some really fast played guitar notes though. All the songs are easily memorable and itīs nice to hear that Cathedral even though they are a retro prog rock band are able to make original music. Kithara Interludium does stand out from the rest of the songs as it is a classical acoustic guitar suite. Itīs very competently played but I think it is a bit too long. As a fan of early seventies prog rock Iīm happy to hear that the mellotron is used extensively on The Bridge. It gives the music a very symphonic lift that I greatly appreciate. This was also the case on Cathedralīs debut.

The musicians needs to be mentioned as this is one of the best performances I have heard in a long time. These guys know how to play their instruments. As a guitarist myself I am awe strucken when listening to David Doigīs playing. That man plays some great guitar parts. Singer Paul Seal has developed his voice since the debut and allthough he will never be my favorite singer I think he has personality and does a great job here. The rythm section is pretty prominent and especially the bass from Fred Callan is very loud in the soundscape. Both Fred Callan and drummer Mercury Caronia IV does a great job here. The keyboard player Tom Doncourt is the main reason why this sounds retro. He uses vintage keyboards a lot. He mostly plays background notes to support the vocal melody and the guitar. I love vintage keyboard sounds so to me this is great.

The sound quality could have been better but The Bridge is self produced and if you think about that the production is allright. The drums and the bass which is way too high in the mix annoy me though. For the life of me I cannot understand why a band of Cathedralīs caliber canīt get a record contract so they can get a good sound ? The progressive record companies should be lined up trying to get Cathedralīs signature.

This was a pleasant surprise for me as I didnīt expect too much from a band that hasnīt released anything in 29 years. I expected them to sound tired and old, another pathetic attempt to relive their youth, but instead Cathedral has grown considerably as musicians and composers and we get this excellent album that I will rate 4 big stars. Had the production been really good I might have given this one 5. Itīs highly recommendable though. One of the best symphonic prog rock albums released in recent years to my recollection.

Report this review (#165248)
Posted Friday, March 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Better late than never?

After almost 30 years, Cathedral is back...and I could've live without it. I read so much praised, I had to listen and verify by myself. What I founded was not my cup of tea, but really not!

What's wrong with this record? Well, as a start, it maybe me. Maybe my progressive heart has not being tendered enough, but all those unsipid solos or mellotron-single-chord-playing are giving me a rash. I mean, it's probably fun for guitarist to copy David Gilmour over and over, but it does not mean that it's melodic nor catchy. And the voice is so useless, it could make Caravan pass for Pavarotti.

Talking about melody: this record is lacking some song logic big time. Most of the time, it's not really going anywhere. You have an acoutic guitar solo, then so much mellotron it's getting annoying and after that a synth-chorus and then...and goes on without going nowhere fast. The songs are simply not standing on their own legs. Okay, go on and be original or dark, but GO SOMEWHERE! Don't just 'cut- paste' all your ideas, this is still not a song!

Kithara Interludium is instrumental. Okay, the same problem is back, still going hazardly somewhere. I guess the key is listening, and listening and listening again.

Listen before buying and oh, it did bore the heck out of...of...zzzzzz.

Report this review (#184348)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After finally hearing Stained Class Stories in all its' derivative splendour, i couldn't wait to get to this album. Monsterhead starts off promising - acoustic guitar ... then Anglagard with an American singer ? Did King Crimson dump their out-takes on Cathedral with the proviso that they not be as heavy as recent KC output ? O.K. , skip that one. Satellite ... gets me thinking that I'm sure I've heard of a Neo-prog group by that name. There is one. That fact is about the only thing that stands out for this song. ANd yes, likely it's unintended, but it does come off like Neo. Bad Neo. All synth washes, and guitar solos & fills with heavy doses of delay. I'm starting to notice that often, the mellotron or synths seem to appear regularly almost as backing vocals on much of the singing - da da de da da synth wash ... Hollins - and today students, we'll apply our textbook theory and build a modern prog composition. Your recent case studies of Neo-prog, Swedish scene, and mellotron should provide you ample material to construct a passing grade tune. Kudos to those who have come up with the idea of inserting the word angular while playing Anglagard like passages. Kithara Interludium - now class, one of the standard components of a Prog album is the inclusion of an acoustic or classical guitar composition. It is never a bad idea to include overt & covert melodic ideas from some of the classical canons' best melodies. You may want to refer to Steve Howe's occasional forays into this field to come up with ideas. Now unlike Mr. Howe, I will not expect you to introduce other musical genres into your playing. Angular World - did I mention that they use the word angular at the same time that they play an angular melody ? The Lake - the bottom of which this CD is going to end up in. Why would they bother ripping off So era Gabriel and do it this badly ? The Secret - is that their next album will be a self financed vanity project. If I touch your lips with my fingertips, hush my child, we'll just dream a while. And I'd given up on seeing signs of originality ! Truly, for those who enjoyed the debut, and might be looking at picking this up, do yourself a favour - choose an Anglagard album, or go to Pendragon's Pure. Sometimes, memories are best left alone.
Report this review (#201541)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's been years and years since Cathedral released their "Stained Glass Stories" album, an obscure symphonic prog album that went unnoticed by the big audiences of the late 70s but eventually became a collector's item for prog fans all over the world from the 90s onward. That album had set the standard of Cathedral's as one heavily influenced by 73-75 Yes, plus touches of Gabriel-era Genesis' melodic sense. Now, with almost the entire original line-up reformed, Cathedral created yet another beautiful repertoire of old fashioned symphonic prog rock encapsulated in the album "The Bridge". It is clearly defined under the usual rules of melodic richness, orchestral feel and long development of themes, but the Cathedral guys proficiently elude the traps of cloning (or self-cloning). "The Bridge" bears a very modern vibe to it, with a more agile set of instrumental arrangements and a tighter sense of rocking power. All who got to know and appreciate classic Cathedral perhaps will miss the first album's density that made it so special in its eerie beauty, and also will miss the use of a more powerful rhythmic foundation in the tracks' frameworks, but it is all in the balance between what is gone and what is new in this band's second era. None of these albums is perfect, but both have their own virtues. There is also a tendency to avoid the saturation of keyboard inputs, which helps Cathedral to become as tiring as the renewed Kaipa or Kayak can be at times. The 3-part 'Monsterhead Suite' kicks off the album with cosmic textures, soon developed into clear Yessian moods (never playing the "Starcastle card"). The guitars are prominent in the soloing department, while the keyboards are mostly busy elaborating orchestrations and layers. The mood shifts flow nicely, filling the 13+ minute musical journey with pleasant melodies and harmonic structures. The follower 'Satellite' bears a rockier punch, which makes it a bit catchier - yet, the use of weird melodic progressions keeps the track from being easy listening, particularly the dissonant elements that shape the guitar inputs and the Gentle Giant-ish keyboard flows. Even though this piece is not really that disturbing, its use of some weird ornaments is fully appreciated. 'Hollins' opens up with new cosmic textures (including a mellotronic choir), followed by a Hackett-style set of classical guitar chops. Once the main motif is settled down, the band creates a good balance of controlled complexity and tricky simplicity. The next track also gives special room for the classical guitar's flourishes: in the end, it is a very Baroque-inspired piece. 'Angular World', to some degree, picks up where 'satellite' had left, but all in all it gains a greater benefit from the longer expansion of its motifs. The explosive guitar solo delivered somewhere in the middle provides a special dose of intensity among the album's general moods. 'The Lake', in comparison, states a more mysterious vibe, with plenty of exotic colors: on the other hand, it is related to the framework that the band utilized for the preceding track. 'The Secret' is the album's closer, filling the last 11 ― minutes: as a compositional work, it is the most ambitious piece in the album, bringing the most colorful set of musical ideas to the fold. A special mention goes to the Theremin, provider of spacey interludes in the whole architecture of keyboards: the closing passage states a reminder of the good old "Stained Glass" days. The general ups and downs that I personally find in this album have been mentioned earlier - considering how much each individual track has impressed me, I regard "The Bridge" as a very good album, full of beauty and cleverly elaborated textures: in other words, yet another triumph by Cathedral.
Report this review (#209302)
Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I almost wrote a two star review of this album half a year ago. I thought better off it and I hoped I was going to find something of any value if I gave it another six months. I was wrong.

This band does not need any introduction. Their Stained Glass album thirty years ago is rightly regarded as a classic. I love that album. Where that album was very confined and strict; The Bridge branches out everywhere. The result is no good songs and a bland sound. The vocals from Stained Glass is thankfully still there. The songs are anonyme and does not register. The lack of good songs are simply the biggest problem here. The lack of charm and identity does not make this album any better. I love this band and I therefore hate this album. It simply falls flat on it's face. The frequent aimless accoustic guitar based songs does not make this album any better. There are some OK pieces here. But there is not enough of them. I wish the band had stucked to their guns and not released this bland, bland album. This is the letdown of the year.

2 stars

Report this review (#248342)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although its cosmic and symphonic elements probably make 1969-1970 King Crimson a more accurate reference point, I find much of this music surprisingly reminiscent of some of Adrian Belews 80's work with Talking Heads (except with many more moods, tempos, and arrangements).

Vocals are strong throughout, often evocative of (a more precise version of) John Wetton. In rare sensitive moments, however, they sound oddly similar to Gabriel-era Genesis. There is a certain restrained, non-heavy, non-metallic vibe that may come across as a lack of urgency and low level of energy to some listeners. That said, The Bridge has much worthy of recognition and appreciation: dramatic flair, varied symphonic arrangements, tastefully angular guitar, bass lines which are actually meaningful within the compositions. Unfortunately, the ability to appreciate them is to some extent dependent upon one's ability to disassociate this album from Cathedral's classic 1978 debut, a feat which some prog fans may have no desire to attempt and one which the majority of the remainder may find difficult to accomplish.

If this band is guilty of anything, however, it is perhaps only the transgression of actually trying to catch lightning in bottle a second time after all these years. Even so, I respect them for having the courage to 'give it a go' in a new and different way this time around - so many years after their beloved debut. Recommended.

Report this review (#1148487)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars Review nš 231

Cathedral - The Bridge

They're back after some 30 years. Although, they didn't hit me with the same power. It's the same, exactly the same band. There are some moments when the members could show themselves and their mental waves of creational feeling and they're awesome, you recognize them. But the suites and tracks in itself aren't catchy as a whole. There's something lacking. It doesn't seems to me as a forced re-encounter. The songs are well worked. It is a nice album. But doesn't worth your cash, in my honest point of view. It almost went down to a total neo-prog path. Better stay with your old Stained Glass Stories copy.

Report this review (#1425057)
Posted Monday, June 8, 2015 | Review Permalink

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