CARAVAN BEYOND REDEMPTION is a captivating album for all of its 70-plus-minute running time. Starting from their usual brand of doom metal, heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, but boasting an original, individual style at the same time, Cathedral throw in various surprises this time to make things interesting. While the "stoner" rock style dominates the sound, '70s funk infects the rhythms -- most of these songs feature a (more or less sublime) groove that is irresistible. Sometimes insidious wah-wah guitars recall "Shaft" ("Freedom," "Revolution"), while on other occasions a bongo section adds spice ("Voodoo Fire"). Various voice recordings appear, and "Captain Clegg" is a Hammer Horror homage, complete with movie samples. "The Caravan" is an affectionate nod to Cathedral's idols (remember "Planet Caravan"?). All of these elements are integrated organically into the music, which nonetheless is a crushing fest of heavy yet melodic riffs. Vocalist Lee Dorrian's voice is cleaner this time (actually intelligible), going with the harmonies instead of fighting against them -- though he doesn't give up his growling shouter persona. The lyrics mostly reward investigation, with a lot of social commentary and inspired madness; the words of "The Omega Man" (greetings from "Iron Man") are truly eerie, presenting a mixture of paranoia and apocalypse. After the last song (which surprises the listener by getting slower instead of faster) is over, there's five minutes of silence (Cathedral's extended version of "4'33"?), followed by some senseless crowd noises. Never mind this hidden "track"; the 12 songs on CARAVAN BEYOND REDEMPTION are inspired and intelligent and definitely worth seeking out.




This review was written for the All-Music Guide on March 2, 1999.
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Christian Genzel

Christian Genzel arbeitet als freier Autor und Filmschaffender. Sein erster Spielfilm DIE MUSE, ein Psychothriller mit Thomas Limpinsel und Henriette Müller, handelte von einem Schriftsteller, der eine junge Frau entführt, weil er sie als Inspiration für sein Buch braucht. Außerdem drehte Genzel mehrere Kurzfilme, darunter SCHLAFLOS, eine 40-minütige Liebeserklärung an die Musik mit Maximilian Simonischek und Stefan Murr. Derzeit entwickelt er seinen zweiten Spielfilm BROT UND SPIELE, eine Komödie mit Thomas Limpinsel, Götz Otto und Steffen Wink über alte Kindsköpfe und noch ältere Computerspiele, und dreht eine Dokumentation über den Filmemacher Howard Ziehm.

Christian Genzel schreibt außerdem in den Bereichen Film, TV und Musik, unter anderem für GMX, den All-Music Guide, das 35-Millimeter-Filmmagazin und Film & TV Kameramann. Außerdem hält er Vorträge zu Filmthemen und kuratierte 2014 an der Universität Salzburg eine Filmreihe zum Thema "Erster Weltkrieg".

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