Lee Dorrian

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Lee Dorrian
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Dorrian in 2016
Background information
Born (1968-06-05) 5 June 1968 (age 52)
Origin Coventry, England
Genres Doom metal, stoner metal, crust punk, grindcore (early)
Years active1986–present
Labels Rise Above, Earache
Associated acts Napalm Death
Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine
Paul Chain
With the Dead
Septic Tank
Website riseaboverecords.com

Lee Dorrian (born 5 June 1968) is an English singer, best known as a former member of Napalm Death and later frontman of Cathedral.



During his early teenage years, Dorrian was the editor of a local punk fanzine called Committed Suicide. [1] This led to him becoming a local punk promoter during the mid-late 80's, bringing bands such as B.G.K., Amebix, Antisect, Negazione, AntiCimex, Disorder, Bannlyst, Heresy, Icons of Filth, Anti System, Conflict, Concrete Sox, The Varukers and many others to various Coventry venues, such as the back room of The Hand & Heart public house on Far Gosford Street. [2] During this time he was a passionate animal rights activist [3] and involved in various anarchist groups and demonstrations. [4]

In 1987 he became vocalist and lyricist with Napalm Death, recording one and a half albums with them, namely the second side of Scum and the whole From Enslavement to Obliteration album. During his time in the band, they were majorly championed by John Peel and recorded two sessions for his Radio One show. The band also made several significant TV appearances on BBC shows such as Snub TV, [5] Arena [6] and children's music show What's That Noise? They also appeared on the front cover of NME, [7] which was the inspiration to the lyrics of a song "No Mental Effort". This track appeared on Dorrian's final recording with Napalm Death, on the Mentally Murdered EP. To coincide with its release in 1989, friend Peel had helped to arrange a slot for them at Reading Festival. Unfortunately, the appearance had to be cancelled as Dorrian left the band due to disillusionment following their tour of Japan in July of that year. [8]

Whilst still a member of Napalm Death, Dorrian founded his own record label, Rise Above Records in 1988. Initially intended as a means to get him off the dole, Rise Above was kick-started as part of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme. His main aim was to release a few hardcore punk 7" singles in extremely limited runs, just for fun. [9] However, the label went from strength to strength and is today one of the most revered underground independent record labels in existence. Some of the artists that Dorrian has introduced to the world via Rise Above Records include Ghost, Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Circulus, Blood Ceremony and many more. [10]

Later in 1989, Dorrian formed doom metal band Cathedral, releasing their debut album Forest of Equilibrium in 1991. The album is considered a genuine cult classic and a cornerstone in the evolution of the genre. [11] Cathedral existed as a band for over 23 years before deciding to call it a day in 2012, ahead of releasing their final album The Last Spire in 2013. [12] During their lengthy career, they played as main support to Black Sabbath on their Cross Purposes tour in 1994. [13] As a result, the band became friendly with Tony Iommi, which led to him making a very rare guest appearance on Cathedral's 1995 album The Carnival Bizarre. [14]

In 1995, Dorrian collaborated with Italian musician Paul Chain, with whom he co-wrote four songs which appeared on the Alkahest album. [15] He appeared as vocalist/lyricist in extreme doom project Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, featuring members of Sunn O))) and Iron Monkey, releasing the one-off album 'Rampton' in 2002. [16] In 2003, he appeared on the Probot album, which was curated by his old friend and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. [17]

Dorrian is currently a member of With the Dead, [18] in which he is joined by former Electric Wizard bassist Tim Bagshaw, along with former Cathedral bassist Leo Smee and former Bolt Thrower drummer Alex Thomas. Their self-titled debut album was released on Rise Above Records in October 2015. [19]

Dorrian first used an extreme and ferocious death grunt style of vocal mixed with hardcore screaming in Napalm Death, but later adopted a cleaner and more varied style with Cathedral. [20]

He presented an award to Napalm Death at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards 2007. [21]

Dorrian has appeared on the British television show Never Mind the Buzzcocks as a guest in the line-up round. [22] The round followed a short video segment of Dorrian performing with Napalm Death.


Dorrian cited among others Cal from Discharge and Sakevi Yokoyama from GISM as influences. [23]


Dorrian performing in 2010 LeeDorrian.jpg
Dorrian performing in 2010

Napalm Death


Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine

Septic Tank

With the Dead


Erased – Symbol of Life Paradise Lost Guest Backing Vocals2002
Ice Cold Man - Probot ProbotGuest Vocals2004

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