Subterranea: With The Dead
Two years after he disbanded Cathedral, iconic frontman Lee Dorrian has made an unexpected return to the darkest depths of doom.
"The records that have helped me in life aren’t necessarily the ones that are very happy. If I felt like shit and listened to something completely nihilistic, generally at the end I’ve felt cleansed and happier, you know?”
Heaviness is as much a vocation as a desirable musical quality. When Lee Dorrian announced that Cathedral were to go their separate ways in the spring of 2013, the likelihood that the celebrated doom metal evangelist and Rise Above Records boss would make a return to the spotlight any time soon seemed, at best, remote. Having built a towering legacy over the course of 21 years, Cathedral had said all they wanted to say and Lee found himself in a situation where he needed to channel all his energy into steadying his label’s business affairs. But in keeping with his notoriously tireless pursuit of ultimate heaviness via the majesty of the riff, the allure of the doom code has proved too much for him to withstand. The result is With The Dead, a band featuring Lee on vocals and original Electric Wizard members Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening on guitars and drums respectively. Both the first offering from a British doom dream team and the most gleefully raw and grim thing that any of those involved have produced to date, With The Dead’s eponymous debut album came about when Tim and Mark started plotting a new project, contacted their old label boss to see if he would be interested in releasing something and then, with only the slightest dash of audacity, asked him if he might possibly fancy dusting off his vocal cords and leading this new band from the front.
“I didn’t really have any major ambitions to be in another band,” Lee admits. “But then I never really had any ambitions to be in a band in the first place! What Tim and Mark were doing sounded really cool, really dark, nihilistic and heavy – the usual ingredients that would turn someone on if you like this kind of music. I thought it sounded really raw and really direct. There was no fucking around. In recent times that’s something that’s been missing in heavy music. People try too hard and production is too polished and it all sounds forced. This was back to how things should be. So they asked me to do it, but at first I hesitated... and then I said yes. It’s all been very spontaneous.”