DB HOF NO. 12
The making of Cathedral’s “Forest of Equilibrium”
In 1989, while the extreme metal underground was bingeing on the high-speed savagery of death metal and grindcore, ex-Napalm Death vocalist Lee Dorrian and Carcass roadie Mark “Griff” Griffiths were getting ripped on British cider, brown weed, and the down-tuned Sabbathian histrionics of Trouble, St. Vitus, and Witchfinder General. After committing themselves to the dissemination of the slowest, most grueling tempos possible, Dorrian and Griffiths hooked up with Acid Reign guitarists Garry “Gaz” Jennings and Adam Lehan and formed doom metal powerhouse Cathedral, going through a pair of drummers and demos over the course of the next two years. By early 1991, the members of Cathedral were suffering from a series of personal and professional setbacks. With no drummer, no money, and no future beyond the promise of some studio time from Earache Records to lay down the band’s full-length debut, Dorrian wrote a letter to Penance drummer Mike Smail (ex-Dream Death)—who lived on the other side of the Atlantic in Pittsburgh, PA—and things finally started looking up. In July 1991, with Smail in tow, Cathedral descended upon Workshop Studios in Redditch, England, to record Forest of Equilibrium—the slowest, bleakest album in the band’s now 17-year history, and a funereal testament to all that is doom. For the first time since the recording, Decibel has assembled the members of the Forest-era Cathedral lineup* to get the story behind the album.
(*Decibel made every effort to contact guitarist Adam Lehan for this article—to the point of calling random “A. Lehan” listings in the British phone book—but to no avail.) —J. Bennett
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