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CATHEDRAL

Neo-Prog • United States


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Cathedral biography
In 1991, Cathedral came on the progressive scene in Washington D.C. and quickly made a name for themselves in the American neo progressive scene. They were the first band signed to the Kinesis label (the second band was Baltimore's Illuvatar), and released Kingdom Of Ends (1992), and There In The Shadows (1993). They instantly became recognized for their epic compositions and impeccable musicianship.

Musical influences include GENESIS, MARILLION, PINK FLOYD, LED ZEPPELIN and YES, but the vocals are more on the 'american' style. The band seems to gain more originality on their second effort 'There in The Shadows'. Good keyboard work, as well as the rythm section, with a melodical guitar that reminds me of Gilmour or Hackett. There is no relation between this band and the other American Cathedral from the 1970's, nor the English Cathedral of the 1990's of the grindcore genre.

Braverman returned to Long Island after the release of There In The Shadows and went on to record the Ad Infinitum studio project in 1998, also released by Kinesis. The rest of Cathedral reformed as Hip Omelette until the end of 1995. When asked about a possible reunion, guitarist Gary Sisto stated, "I'm still in touch with with the members of Cathedral, but I don't see a reunion in the future. All of us have moved on to different places in our lives and the chemistry just isn't right for a rekindling of the old spirits. Such is life."

Eric Walker (Joolz should be credited for a portion of this bio)

Cathedral official website

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CATHEDRAL discography


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CATHEDRAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.41 | 14 ratings
Kingdom of Ends
1992
3.04 | 13 ratings
There in the Shadows
1993

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CATHEDRAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kingdom of Ends by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.41 | 14 ratings

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Kingdom of Ends
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars 2.5 stars really...

One of the few US bands daring to play progressive rock were the Washington-based quintet CATHEDRAL (nothing to do with the US Symphonic Prog act of the 70's).Led by guitarist Gary Sisto the band was formed in early 1991, featuring also Ted Thompson on vocals,Todd Braverman on keys, Mike Hounshell on bass and Mark Copney on drums.CATHEDRAL were one of the first bands (if not the first one) to sign on Kinesis Label along with compatriots Iluvatar.In 1992 they release their debut entitled ''Kingdom of ends''.

Often compared with neo prog acts of the 80's, CATHEDRAL jump on the train of easy- listening yet dynamic prog rock and do it just fine at some point.I do not know,but propably CATHEDRAL could have been a great influence for ENCHANT,as the two bands sound extremely similar.Even vocalist Ted Thompson has the same voice with Ted Leonard of ENCHANT,that is an emphatic and emotional vocalist with crystalline chords and a wide range of expression,but a bit of cheesy moments as well.At his most theatrical moments he tries to sound like FISH,but this style doesn't work that well.Speaking previously about ILUVATAR, CATHEDRAL hold also some similarities with their compatriots, especially in the keyboard parts and accesible melodies of the album.However, ENCHANT remain the best comparison with most of the compositions swinging around Sisto's good guitar work,featuring catchy riffs, energetic grooves,some fine melodies and decent breaks as well.This combination of the decent guitar work with the acceptable vocal lines is actually the best thing ''Kingdom of ends'' has to offer,as the keyboards are pretty forgettable at least for me.

The album is not particularly exciting,I have heard tons of bands playing this style a lot better,but it will certainly hold some interest for fans of ENCHANT and even Neo Progressive rock.Between the slim line of mediocre and quite good progressive rock.

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 Kingdom of Ends by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.41 | 14 ratings

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Kingdom of Ends
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars Gosh !!

This Cathedral must not be confused with neither the great 1970s band with the same name or the British stoner rock act. This is a Neo-Prog band from USA. I reviewed their second album one year ago and did not like it. Kingdom of Ends is their debut album and it is on par with their second album. Not much change.

Cathedral does a mix of AOR and Neo-Prog. Pendragon, IQ and Marillion is the references here. Kingdom of Ends have some horrendous thin vocals with no dept. He can only sing in almost only one tone and it seems like the music is packed around his limited abilities. The music sometimes dips into some Celtic folk music before it hastily retreats back to Neo-Prog and AOR. Actually, this is much more a Neo-Prog album than an AOR album.

The opening song Beneath The Wheel is the only saving grace here. The rest is best forgotten, with a small nod to Pinocchio and Nothing About Nothing fairly good songs. The rest of this album is very bland and dull as a mug of warm water. Must try harder........ they did and they failed............ and they disbanded. I am not in mourning. I prefer the original masters of Neo-Prog any day, any time.

2 stars

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 There in the Shadows  by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.04 | 13 ratings

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There in the Shadows
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I actually like this album a lot. Their sound reminds me somewhat of the style of fellow Americans ENCHANT, I just wished they kept it on the heavier side like they do on the stand out track "Renfield". At 65 minutes they really could have trimmed down a couple of songs and this album would have been even better.

Vocals and guitar stand out early on the opening track "Holy War". It settles 2 1/2 minutes in with reserved vocals and keyboards. Not for long though. I like the guitar solo before 4 minutes and later around 5 1/2 minutes. "Junk Drawer" is mostly acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. Drums and bass arrive before 2 minutes. This is one of those songs that goes on for too long. "Renfield" is heavy to open then synths take over. A change after a minute as it becomes more urgent sounding. It kicks in at 2 minutes. Nice. Contrasts continue. Just a great sounding tune here.

"Don't Ruin The Memory" is mellow as vocals join in. Keys too. I really like the pulsating organ ala Banks that comes and goes. Good tune. "Soul Windows" opens with RUSH-like synths before it kicks in around a minute. This reminds me of ENCHANT. It settles with keys before 3 1/2 minutes then the guitar returns before 4 minutes. "Change My Mind" opens with prominant bass and guitar before the vocals arrive in this laid back soundscape. Like "Junk Drawer" this goes on for too long. "Existential Crisis" opens with spoken words before a Hendrix-like guitar melody takes over. A change before 3 minutes as a nice lazy guitar melody comes in, this continues until before 6 1/2 minutes. Organ then comes in then strummed guitar. The tempo picks up and vocals come in after 7 1/2 minutes. Check out the bass 9 minutes in as the sound gets heavier to the end. "Wayfarer" opens with guitar riffs as keyboards and drums join in.Vocals follow. Not a bad tune.

Lots to like here, it's too bad they broke up after this one. Worth checking out.

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 There in the Shadows  by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.04 | 13 ratings

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There in the Shadows
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars No, this is neither the superb symphonic prog rock act from the '70 or the doom metal act from England. This is a now disbanded American band who released two albums in the '90. This is their second and final album. The music is distinct AOR, but with a neo-prog edge.

This album is too American AOR orientated in my view, but it still have some good music. The guitars are good and so are the synths. The sound is typical for the '90s. It is not a must have or something I would pay much money for, but it is a solid and rather bland album. If you like a mix of neo prog like IQ and AOR, this will be a good album for you.

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 There in the Shadows  by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.04 | 13 ratings

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There in the Shadows
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars I get several flashes of deja vu as I listen to this effort by Cathedral. Some are flattering references, others less so. In particular the vocalist Ted Thompson reminds me of a cross between 3 Steves: Perry, Winwood, and Hogarth. All three are what I would call average vocalists, not ones who detract terribly but not ones that I would buy an album for. So it remains to the songs of this American band to wow me and make my heart flutter.

"There in the Shadows" gets off to a great start, with two engaging and delightfully contrasting tracks, "Holy War", with its potent melodic lines and thought-provoking lyrics, and the largely acoustic, but not folky, "Junk Drawer". "Renfield" is promising about halfway, with some references to Genesis' "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", until it becomes a plodding hard rock song. After that the album goes into a steep decline, with a few fairly mundane songs with little appeal. "The lengthiest piece, "Existential Crisis', is divided into three parts, the first two of which are highly praiseworthy, with the last dissolving into a boorish headbanging fest.

What started well and distinctively enough ends up as just another neo album with occasional and poorly executed hard rock aspirations. In spite of my having given "There in the Shadows" multiple repeat "spins", you won't find me worshipping at this cathedral.

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 Kingdom of Ends by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.41 | 14 ratings

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Kingdom of Ends
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by info

4 stars For the most part, Cathedral fall into the Genesis/IQ/Marillion neo-prog camp, but they do it very well. There are also evident Pink Floyd influences, mainly in the guitar. This is an album I would listen to as often as IQ's The Wake or Twelfth Night's Fact and Fiction... Cathedral have penned appealing compositions with memorable melodies. The longer tunes... have several sections of tension and release that give the songs direction and purpose. Cathedral stand head and shoulders above most others in this (neo-prog) genre.

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 There in the Shadows  by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.04 | 13 ratings

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There in the Shadows
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by info

4 stars There are similarities to their previous release, Kingdom of Ends, but Cathedral have honed their style into something more original and more varied... Though (guitarist) Sisto's style is strongly reminiscent of [David Gilmour of Pink Floyd], it actually helps him stand out among the many faceless neo-prog guitar players... In all, another solid album from Cathedral, sure to please fans of their first album, as well as attract new fans.

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 Kingdom of Ends by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.41 | 14 ratings

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Kingdom of Ends
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by roger.dean

4 stars Their sound blends tried and true progressivisms into an accessible format, fronted by lead vocalist Ted Thompson, while still offering plenty of instrumental fire and spirited solos. At times they may remind of Pendragon in earlier years, but such a comparison only accounts for an overall sound, and doesn't factor in Cathedral's superior compositional skills; their instrumental passages deliver far more eloquent and provocative moments than the aforementioned... Fans of the neo-progressive sound will surely enjoy this album beginning to end.

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 There in the Shadows  by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.04 | 13 ratings

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There in the Shadows
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by mark.regis

5 stars This was one of the best - and most surprising - discs this reviewer heard last year, without question. Cathedral displays a well-crafted, unique, and original sound that should make every American prog fan want to salute. Young vocalist Ted Thompson's voice and delivery are powerful and passionate, while guitarist Gary Sisto, keysman Todd Braverman, bassist Mike Hounshell, and drummer Mark Copney concoct a potent progressive brew, blending elements of everyone from Marillion to Led Zeppelin to Genesis to Pink Floyd, while sounding like none of them... There in the Shadows contains some of the freshest and most unique prog rock this reviewer has heard... we have this and their first disc Kingdom of Ends to remind us how special they really were.

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 Kingdom of Ends by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.41 | 14 ratings

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Kingdom of Ends
Cathedral Neo-Prog

Review by Hibou
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars Ouch!!! What in the holy name of Prog where these guys thinking! Ok, I'll admit vocals never constituted prog's main attraction and God knows we've heard some pretty bad acts, even from the most seasoned bands. But this one takes the cake. As for the production, it sounds as if some producer had rounded off a prog garage band, handed them the usual instrumental arsenal and said: "Here, boys, go make some noise".

Ok, perhaps I'm being a little too harsh here. To be fair, I admit "Kingdom of Ends" does have its share of good musical phrases and some inspired passages (if you listen very closely, you can even find a few sparks of genius, even some good keyboard and guitar licks here and there). But these good moments are far too few to even make it a decent album.

Some tracks remind me of PENDRAGON but most are reminiscent 80's MARILLION (the track "Nothing About Nothing" is a real "Market Square Hero" sound-alike). Not bad, you will say. However, there is a sameness that pervades though out the album that makes it tedious to listen to till the end. First of all, the vocalist seems to have a very limited range; he has trouble reaching some notes and as a result is sometimes off key - this really spoils the magic. Also, as he mostly screams at the top of his voice, you wish for some relief after the second or third track. Second, no one instrument really stands out: the lead guitar often sounds as if it were hidden in the background, the drumming is very elementary and the keyboards are hardly distinguishable from it all. I suppose a decent recording studio could have done marvels with such material because it does have some potential. As it stands, we'll just have to take it for what it is: a half-decent looking Cinderella dressed in rags.

P.S. This band is NOT to be mistaken for the 70's band of the same name, whom I haven't heard yet and for whom the critics seem to have nothing but high praises.

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