Hello Progarchy! As a new member, I’d like to start off with a series that focuses on underappreciated prog rock groups. The first band I’d like to review is Cathedral, a 5 member band that released what I consider to be the one of the finest American prog rock albums, Stained Glass Stories. This album, released in 1978, combines the sounds of Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, and King Crimson into one beautiful symphonic work. The album consists of 5 songs, two of which (Introspect and The Search) are wonderful epic pieces reminiscent of some of Yes’ finest music. Gong is a shorter instrumental piece that hearkens back to Peter Gabriel era Genesis. The other two songs (The Crossing and Days & Changes) also have a captivating symphonic sound that will remind listeners of Relayer era Yes or King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King. (The reason for my not going into great detail here is because I believe one needs to hear the music to truly appreciate it.)
Overall, Cathedral did a fantastic job creating symphonic music inspired by their more popular British contemporaries while maintaining their own distinct sound. The instrumentation is excellent (listen to the crisp sound of Fred Callan’s Rickenbacker bass and Rudy Perrone’s dexterous handling of lead guitar) and let’s not forget the great cover art. The beautiful pastoral setting on the cover is a perfect reflection of the music featured on the album. Here is the full album (and the great album cover with it):
Unfortunately, this criminally underrated band never received the attention they deserved and thus retired soon after the release of this album. Thirty years later, however, they were back in the studio recording The Bridge, which was released in 2007. I have not had the chance to listen to this album yet, but I have read glowing reviews about it. If you have a chance, take a listen to and enjoy Stained Glass Stories. You can also purchase both Stained Glass Stories and The Bridge on iTunes.