Cathedral, Black Juju, High Noon
Block 33, Thessaloniki, Greece
Last show ever for the british doomsters Cathedral in the city of Thessaloniki and it was more than certain I’d be there to see them again for the fourth time in a period of 12 years. The pioneers of the doom sound for more than two decades decided to disband after this last tour, promoting their latest album calles ”The Guessing Game”, released a year and a half ago. Only 200 to 250 persons thought this was an opportunity to see one of the best live bands and once again the crowd of Thessaloniki showed that promoters shouldn’t make gigs in the second biggest city of Greece. However, this didn’t prevent people from having great fun and of much help to all these, was the fact that the two support bands of the night did everything they could to get us warmed until the time where the headliners stepped on stage.
High Noon was the first band that started their show a little before 10 o’clock. A quartet of obsessive youngsters, playing heavy rock in the veins of Down and Kyuss, having a great sound and being full of skills and the right nerve to make fans praise them for their performance. The frontman especially is a very young version of the charismatic Phil Anselmo, having taken the best elements of his presence on the scene. Rather neurotic, going up and down relentlessly, even while presenting the songs. The rest band accompanies him in a very fittable way and if they keep going like this, it is for certain they can achieve something special in the future. A great cover ”Into The Void” was presented, and as a friend said during Cathedral’s performance, ”everything starts and ends in Black Sabbath”. Well done guys, future’s yours as soon as you believe it.
Black Juju on the other hand is a band of veterans, coming from the city of Larisa and playing totally like the fathers of the sound Black Sabbath. Quite an experience, as they live deep what they do on stage. The singer has an excellent rock voice, making me wonder why it was just the first time I saw them on my life, the guitarist was bringing one riff after the other in his custom Taurus guitar, such as the one Tony Iommi used to play, and the same model belonged to the bass player as well (a Taurus bass, that’s really something I had never seen). Good sound, a performance that flowed rather quickly without tiring the attenders and after 35 minutes they left the stage, gaining the applause of the crowd. Honest performance and it was finally the time to enjoy the reason why we went to Block 33 that night.
Cathedral seem to disband in the most shaped moment in their history, I can’t explain otherwise the fact that with the arrival of Scott Carlson on bass (tremendous playing, lifetime hero from his Repulsion days) they seem undefeated on stage. As usually, ”Vampire Sun” lights the spark that becomes fire, and with the riffs of Gaz Jennings taking over, Lee Dorrian’s job on vocals gets easier. ”Enter The Worms” for the first time in the four gigs I have seen them, a great continuation. The night is more than promising and ”Soul Sacrifice” (thrashing doom metal anyone?) and ”Midnight Mountain” (os some hippie doom instead?) prepare the ground for a new song from the last album ”The Guessing Game”, which is represented with ”The Funeral Of Dreams”, one of the good songs in it (but a little tiring as well). ”Cosmic Funeral” finds Lee Dorrian having swallowed the microphone and playing the zombie, his theatric performance finds the crowd really excited. And the band continues to play on…
The suite of ”Carnival Bizarre” and ”Night Of The Seagulls” is definitely the highlight of the night, where the band reaches space (with Dorrian pretending to be a cosmonaut on the first one) and they both sound rather psychedelic, in a great orchestration, also played twice heavier and a click slower. Masterpieces! ”Ebony Tears” lands us back on Earth and shows why it still remaines part of the Cathedral live set. ”Upon Azrael’s Wings” (ugh!) and ”Corpsecycle” (wanna dance?) are played as in ”The Garden Of Unearthly Delights” album. Cathedral leave the stage, they come back and Dorrian states it’s time for a ”Ride”, the perfect intro for the ultimate Cathedral song in history, ”Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)”, where in its end Dorrian looks like the hanged witches described on the song. As I stated when I saw Judas Priest, though it makes me sad such bands to come to an end, if one way was suitable, it’s like this one. Cathedral will forever remain in history for what they offered the last two decades, proving once again that it takes a lot of guts to be full of point while playing slow. Thanks to the British quartet for the memories. The last album ”The Last Spire” is going to be out next year. Until then… Preach the warriors of damnation!
Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Louis Konstantinou.