Released: 2016, Peaceville Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
BEHIND THE WALL OF DOOM is the ultimate Candlemass fanboy keepsake. A gorgeous 92-page coffee table book full of hi-gloss photos and commentary across the run of the band’s thirty year career, it’s as close you’ll ever come to actually being a part of the band’s inner circle. Spanning the band’s ascent, descent, and resurrection, it’s the definitive biography of the Swedish doom legends.
The accompanying CDs/DVDs – maybe not so much.
Okay, the good stuff. The book, the photos, the stories, the band anecdotes are all fantastic. From the backstories of individual members, to the transition from pre-Nemesis to Candlemass, to the Chapter VI era back into uncertainty and beyond, it's a fascinating and thorough documentation of the Candlemass career arc. It’s an almost “Behind the Music” worthy collection of anecdotes and asides that really give the fan some perspective into what was in play at any given point in time. There are plenty of band photos you've likely never seen before, and the entire package looks and feels phenomenal. If you're a Candlemass fan, you owe it to yourself to purchase BEHIND THE WALL OF DOOM for the book alone.
The accompanying CDs (3) and DVDs (2) are a missed opportunity. While I'd be curious as to what Leif Edling and Messiah Marcolin's favorite Candlemass tracks are, I don't think they merit 2 separate discs of personal "top 10s". There are a couple of deep cut surprises, but they feel like a wasted "best of" effort. The 3rd CD is includes the band's WITCHCRAFT demo and some old rehearsal takes; there's at least some historical significance to these tracks, and they fit better within the context of the total product. The DVDs feature 3 concerts - Dynamo Festival '88, Bang Your Head Festival '05, and Sweden '90 - which happens to be the same show that 1990's LIVE album was recorded at. These are all great performances, but some representation of the non-Messiah years would've been a treat (like the 20th anniversary concert from 2007, the ASHES TO ASHES concert, etc.)
Petty grievances aside, BEHIND THE WALL OF DOOM is a beautifully crafted retrospective of the legend we know as Candlemass. While there's uncertainty about the band's future plans, BEHIND THE WALL OF DOOM will remind you why Candlemass is, was, and always shall be one of the most important names in doom metal.