Murder In The Cathedral - "Afraid of..."
(Soleil de Gaļa 1999, LP 02)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
Murder In The Cathedral is a French band that plays guitar driven acid rock that struck me as a cross between Bevis Frond, Cream, and Jefferson Airplane. The music has a great raw jamming sound that will transport you back to the Fillmore of 1968. The band is a trio (though there's lots of dual guitar) and includes Stephane Moru on guitars and vocals, Pascal Moru on bass and keyboards, and Gilles Lepron on drums. "Afraid of..." is a limited edition of 500 LP's and features vocal tunes and instrumentals all ranging from three to five minutes. This is the band's second album.
Both the vocal tunes and the instrumentals really work for me on this disc as many of the vocal tunes include fiery instrumental sections. Songs like "Nervous Breakdown", "Dead Pictures", "Message From The Sun", and "Lost Love" have that 60's San Francisco acid rock feel that also reminds me of Bevis Frond. Stephane's guitar is fiery but in that raw style that made 60's psych sound and feel so good. "Bed Of Roses" is a little different, sounding very much like the Byrds. But "War Games" is my favorite of the vocal tracks. It has an epic quality, kind of like an anthem, and some great guitars that trip along with the music.
The band explores the paisley spectrum even further on their instrumental tracks. "Acid Sea" has a guitar melody that is cosmically floating but still raw. The music is like a majestic psych overture that doesn't just jam but really develops. I would have liked to see it evolve beyond its four minutes. "Pagan Mass" is a tripped out psych tune that will transport you to the bazaars of the ancient Middle East with guitar solos and tribal percussion that journey deep into the cosmos. "Chaotic Meditations" is melodic in an acid drenched way and loaded with wah-wah. Like "Acid Sea" this track has more thematic development than the others and is less raw bordering more on instrumental complexity, though still firmly in the psychedelic realm. In summary, Murder In the Cathedral contains some gorgeous psychedelia for those who like raw jamming psych from musicians who can actually play.
For more information you can visit the Soleil de Gaļa web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz