After nearly a quarter of a century away, two former Cathedral members have returned with Workshed. Namely, Mark Wharton and Adam Lehan, whom are well respected for their doom heritage, and Workshed simply personifies their importance and influence within the scene. Originally, this was a collaboration of ideas from two musicians who simply thought it would be fun to play again, over five years it has eventually grown into this behemoth. There are savage doom riffs mixed with a big middle finger punk attitude and a sense of savagery usually witnessed in grind core. This is one pissed off record and a remarkably entertaining recording overall. Recorded at Orgone Studios in Bedfordshire with notable producer Jaime ‘Gomez’ Arellano who’s captured this “hate-doom” majestically. There may be a lack of “huggy bears”, but that’s not something to concern yourself about for this album, it’s a truly different animal purposefully written as music without restrictions as both members are highly mindful of their doom past. Adam’s lyrics reflect anxiety and depression by personal experience, specifically highlighted on ‘A Spirit in Exile’.
From the opening ‘The Windowpanes at the Lexington’ the tirade starts, it’s remarkable how similar Lehan’s vocals are to label boss and former bandmate Lee Dorrian, the energy is immense. The faster moments of the track remind me of some Cathedral/Napalm Death material. The tracks are lengthy, but far from dull, excitement rages with, well, the rage produced. I am taken to the doomier element of Celtic Frost when ‘This City Has Fallen’ has an airing and ‘If this is How It Is’ is another rebel rousing tirade, the power overall on the album (as if I hadn’t mentioned it numerous times already) comes across right smack bang in the face. I don’t feel the need to micro analyse, this is simply a cracking record full of anger, energy and many reflective doom influences. Although, I wouldn’t label as doom, it’s an extreme metal release from cradle to grave providing many minutes of entertainment and an insightful listen to two musicians who are still having fun and bringing back the grit and determination that’s kind of been missing in recent times.
Workshed as an album is powerful, Workshed as are heavy, extreme and an exciting prospect. The future may well depend upon the success of this debut, I say keep the releases coming, this is a winner from start to end.
(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)