Monday, September 13, 2010

Best Thing I Heard Today: Cathedral doing "Funeral of Dreams"

The human brain may be insufficiently developed to digest this song's grandeur.  Loyal readers, if you enjoy smokin' multipartite songs about secular humanist revelations imparted by scarecrows (!), here's your freakin' single of the year:

Here's the blow-by-blow:  our allegorical friend Lee Dorrian, ex-Napalm Death, sets off on a chugging Foo Fighterish journey through Fields of Innocence, when he unexpectedly encounters a Scarecrow (!!) who makes him recite Word Jazz (!!!).  Inspired by this meeting, Dorrian builds a House up in a Tree from whence he can view reality and either an "avatar" or "abattoir" of his mind.  (I totally hope it's the latter!)  He sees that we're all enslaved inside the Matrix, basically, and then the background chorus comes in to chirp "Laaaa, lalala Laaaa!"  How lovely to be enlightened.

Ooh, but then comes Verse 2:  THE EVIL PRIEST!  The priest, a slave to worldly wisdom, misinterprets the beatitudes and tells poor Dorrian that he should submit to the powers that be and sign up for the draft.  Or something.  It's all very "Fortunate Son" at this point, and I'm sure Dorrian would tell me that I shouldn't blame the priest, it's the flawed philosophy of Christianity that's to blame, and the priest is correctly toeing the party line.  Well, whatever.  (The point of "Blessed are the meek" is not that you submit to the first powermonger who tries to exploit you; it's not that you strive to be meek because if you're not meek you're doing something wrong.  No no no, Lee Dorrian--the point of "Blessed are the meek" is that, when you find yourself meek, AND YOU WILL, you also find yourself in a state of blessedness.  If you know where to look.  So next time you're feeling meek, AND YOU WILL, I don't care if you're, um, Bill Gates or whoever, just take a deep breath and read some beatitudes, relax your mind and let your conscience be free and watch blessedness reveal itself to thee.)  Whether you agree with Dorrian's exegesis or not, you cannot deny the searing solo that obliterates your very mind right after this verse, FOLLOWED by the thundering drums + riffs that rock like a mastodon herd.  And then the mastodon beat continues, WITH A MOOG.

In Verse 3 the Scarecrow returns to stage a war protest and pass around drinks.  (I think.)  The song ends with a real scorcher of a coda.  Aside from all the freakiness and multipartiteness that these dudes put into their music, the thing that really stands out is their devotion to great sound.  And not just one great sound, like "oh yeah that's Santana's guitar sound" or something.  No, in addition to their great guitar sounds, Cathedral add goofy sound effects during the Word Jazz parts--mallet percussion and a flourish that sounds like a sitar.  They also like background vocals and keyboards.  There's so much color and play on this album, it's really a worthy successor to Sabbath's Sabotage.  "Funeral of Dreams" is a standout, but the whole Guessing Game album is worth hearing, and possibly the best album you'll hear all year.  Just check out those Youtube comments:

"I can't stop listenning to this album. The only downside is that nobody, not even Cathedral will ever be able to surpass this."

"These guys must really like ELP. This is one of the weirdest songs i have ever heard and it is a work of pure genius."  [Come on, AN ELP COMPARISON!  What else do you need?]

"This album is incredible. May go over most people's heads, but I really dig it."  {Well, THAT'S a little smug.  Surfing in Babylon does not, of course, think The Guessing Game will "go over" your pointy little heads.  At least, not any more than does Ke$ha.  On the other hand, the human brain may be insufficiently developed to digest this song's grandeur--I do not exempt myself.}

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