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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!
It may sound slightly over the top, but 'Forest of Equilibrium' represents all that so-called heavy metal or alternative music should be. For a start the artwork is simply fantastic, suiting the music perfectly. The riffs on the album are so slow and yet so h-e-a-v-y that they they compliment the well thought out lyrics - ultimately insuring that the album works as a...
Published on 8 Sep 2004 by P.Finn

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not my cup of tea then
I aint a lemon,i know that doom is meant to be slow and heavy and i appreciate doom in that regard but this is too slow for its own good,it is a very deliberate ploy of course designed to have the listener drawn in and anticipating a stirring riff but in my estimation this is too slow,and the production leaves alot to be desired.
That being said some of this is ok...
Published on 27 Mar 2008 by sean paul mccann


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 8 Sep 2004
By 
P.Finn (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
It may sound slightly over the top, but 'Forest of Equilibrium' represents all that so-called heavy metal or alternative music should be. For a start the artwork is simply fantastic, suiting the music perfectly. The riffs on the album are so slow and yet so h-e-a-v-y that they they compliment the well thought out lyrics - ultimately insuring that the album works as a complete whole. As for the catharsis that people often claim is the meaning behind 'doom' music, well that's here too - the lyrics from the title track are at once both introspective and suitably mysterious. Also, the way the organ spirals upwards at the end of 'Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain' heightens the sense of release that the song sets claim to.
Alongside Godflesh's 1989 album 'Streetcleaner' and any of the first three albums by Burzum, Forest of Equilibrium is to my mind a true classic not only of 'heavy metal', but music as a whole. If you haven't heard it and like alternative music then I suggest doing so, but steer clear of the albums that followed, where Cathedral started wearing purple flares and dancing in a very odd and funky way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doom, Gloom and depression make for a fantastic album!, 6 Sep 2003
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This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
This album is an absolute masterpiece of doom metal, that much-maligned and ridiculed genre where bands try to 'out-slow' each other, often to no effect other than utter tedium. Cathedral, however, mastered it on this album. Whilst in Napalm Death (there couldn't have been much more of a difference between two bands really!) vocalist Lee Dorrian had often stated his love for Black Sabbath, and their first EP 'In Memorium' was almost a tribute record.
Whilst this is no bad thing in and of itself, it was nevertheless heartening to see the band totally surprise everyone on the release of their first full-length album by producing the most remarkable slab of doom ever to see the light of day. Or should that be 'dark of an overcast, rainy evening' - because this is most certainly the most foreboding music you will ever hear. From the deceptively happy intro (never, with the possible exception of Morbid Angel's 'Leading The rats' from their superlative 'Blessed Are The Sick' album, have flutes sounded so uneasy) to the utterly atonal and disharmonic outro of the cheerily-titled 'Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain', Cathedral want us to know that, not only are they unhappy, they are in absolute torment. It is never made clear exactly why this should be so, but the listener is left in no doubt that it is a fact.
Nothing illustrates Cathedral's misery better than Lee Dorrian's 'vocals'. The inverted commas are there for a reason folks, as this isn't so much singing as the guttural outpourings of a man who is actually being physically tortured as he vomits forth a stream of grief-stricken howls. At times it is possible to believe that the man has actually died and had his last breaths committed to vinyl. For most music, obviously, this would be a little bit of a problem. However, with Cathedral it is a positive bonus.
The music itself is still heavily Sabbath influenced, but there are other inspirations on show this time around, including US doom Gods St. Vitus and even a little bit of apocalyptic techno-industrialists The Swans. Cathedral, however, sound utterly unique on this album despite the influences. This is largely due to the incredibly slow riffs that make up much of the songs on show. 'Ebony Tears' actually sounds like it has been slowed down (I'm not joking, when I first bought this waaaay back in 1991, I actually sped the vinyl up to hear what it would sound like and this track came out pretty well as a mid-paced rocker!).
In addition to the monolithic chunks of rock that are the riffs, there are often small snippets (usually intros) where those damn unsettling flutes and acoustic guitars add a feeling of extra menace to proceedings. There is even a faster 'rocky' number (Soul Sacrifice) which changes the tempo nicely.
All in all, this is an astounding work, and despite what others might say, I still think Cathedral were better off like this than during their (more successful) 70's mainstream metal-influenced later period. One more thing deserves mention: the fantastic artwork of Dave Patchett. He has produced the artwork for almost every Cathedral release and this album's cover is fantastic. This sort of art is the reason CDs will NEVER be as good as vinyl as far as I'm concerned. Like a cross between Hieronymus Bosch's hellish tryptich's and more modern-day line artwork from comic artists, you should definitely check this out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It�s heavy man!, 1 Sep 2005
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
It's ironic that having been a member of Napalm Death - the 'fastest band of all time', vocalist Lee Dorian would leave to front one of the slowest bands of all time in Cathedral. Teamed up with two guitarists previously from the legendary thrash band Acid Reign, Cathedral would set new records in just how slow and heavy metal could be. Nearly 15 years since it's release the emergence of such mind-numbingly slow bands as Khanate has lessened the extremity of Forest of Equilibrium, which now even seems jaunty at times as it breaks out into mid-pace on tracks like Soul Sacrifice, but at the time of its release in 1991 music this slow was unheard of, and tracks like Serpent Eve can still send the unwary listener into a coma. With dirge-like music and Dorrian's wonderfully over the top gloom-filled lyrics the total effect is rather like being slowly buried alive. Individually all the tracks are excellent, but taken en masse the sheer amount of crushingly heavy dirges make this occasionally feel like an album more to be endured than enjoyed, and while this may be the 'purest' Cathedral album their more varied later work is generally more listenable. Very extreme, very good - but if you've only ever heard latter day groovy-style Cathedral be aware that this is a very different beast...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Lee, your such a pretty girl, 25 May 2008
This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
With cider in their hearts and cheap nasty resin in their lungs, Cathedral entered the studio in late 1988 to record an album which is slower than the rate at which your garden growths. Late 1988 you say, well indeed, Cathedral being the kings of downtrodden snail-paced doom which they are took around 3 years to vacate their woodland glade in which the resided...and they bumped into Neil from the Young Ones on the way and things got confusing, indeed, Lee thought he was a mirror.

Cathedral in 1991 made the kind of unholy, extraordinarily effed up racket that could only come from men who spent their whole time drinking special brew and getting high (which indeed was Lee's favourite past time till around 1995). Believe me, this is a rather a unsettling listen; the quirky sense of melody, the muddy yet entrancing production and the rather institution worthy vocal performance. Everything here is designed to suffocate...there is no way out of the forest, one must perhaps befriend the troglodyte figures who inhabit it and be prepared to overlook their lack of social graces as they may well be your future husband/wife. Atmosphere, by George, this album has it, performance and production can be rendered rather unnecessary to analyse when they all amount to this audio asphyxiation. Was it the birth of death doom? Well, I've heard of both those words in singular form but the term means nothing to me...and `Forest of Equilibrium' stands on its own, nothing of this sort was going on in the early 1990s, sure their was doom metal but did it make me think of night time forests and giant mushrooms? Great Scott, it did not.

That said, the idea of traditional song writing has not been completely eschewed. Many a catchy tune can be found here and the album is generally consistent as a forest itself is generally wooded. `Commiserating the Celebration' and the intro (which are both one song on my edition of the album) are splendid. The intro provides a necessary harmony before the general discord of the album itself...painting a picture of a doleful existence before the dense guitars simply beat you into submission. `Soul Sacrifice' provides a relief, it's the only short and up tempo song here. But again oppressive heaviness is its aim. The riffing takes on a interesting Priest meets Zeppelin twist. `Ebony Tears' is perhaps the finest accomplishment of the whole album, with a strangely beautiful quality to it and the lyrics portray a tale of love turned to shame. Melodies crawl forth from amplifiers, but rather than relief they only offer suffocation.

The actual enjoyment of this album is entirely subjective, `Forest of Equilibrium' is a fickle mistress dependent entirely on the listeners mood. At present, I am a still quite high and drunk from the night before and the albums overwhelming sense of abject misery makes so much sense its frightening. Yet still, the album itself is punishing whatever mood you may be in.

One of the songs isn't up to par. `Serpent Eve' displays Lee's vocals becoming perhaps a little too gothic and the song itself is overdrawn. But the album itself rarely descends into a "by numbers" approach that plagues the genre.

In short, you don't truly know heaviness until you've lost yourself in this album. `Forest of Equilibrium' is a unique experience, separate from everything else in terms of general "Cider hangover meets bad drugs" oppressiveness. So go forth and purchase, but beware, leave a trail of jelly beans or something, as you'll want to remember your way out of the forest. My hazy vision, splitting headache, loss of balance...all a product of the Forest, take heed!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best doom album ever, 16 April 2004
This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
i have to say this is the best doom album ever, and was absolutely groundbreaking on it's release when most bands were playing death metal. cathedral slowed it down and sabbathed it up but it still one of the heaviest albums around and absolutely their best before they went all rock with the dodgy vocals. some really classic dark menacing tunes. its up there with some of sabath's best. check out sleeps holy mountain by sleep as probably the most sabbath soundalike album ever, but it'll never be as doom laden as this one!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not my cup of tea then, 27 Mar 2008
By 
sean paul mccann "mccanns23" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
I aint a lemon,i know that doom is meant to be slow and heavy and i appreciate doom in that regard but this is too slow for its own good,it is a very deliberate ploy of course designed to have the listener drawn in and anticipating a stirring riff but in my estimation this is too slow,and the production leaves alot to be desired.
That being said some of this is ok but for me it isnt an album that i will long to hear again,its a struggle to get through this being the way that it is,they stuck true to themselves but little here really stirs the senses,but if its heavy you want and i can certainly appreciate that then this should keep you happy enough but the pace of this takes the positives out of the whole thing.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Second album from the doom metallers, 18 April 2002
This review is from: Forest of Equilibrium (Audio CD)
This album, like their first is definately for the back catalogue collector. So doom laden that it becomes rather slow and plodding at times. This grinding dirge of an album doesn't have any particularly outstanding tracks as the overall sound is somewhat 'samey' and isn't a patch on Cathedral's subsequent recordings. Interesting as a lesson in the progression of the band but not the greatest listen.
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