Released: 2016, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
If you really think about it, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Leif Edling has been sidelined with health issues related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After 30-years singlehandedly writing a generation’s worth of doom metal across a half dozen bands, the guy’s maintained an insane creative pace. But even with a new Candlemass EP and anniversary box set looming, Edling has yet another project to unleash – The Doomsday Kingdom. Currently available as a Bandcamp digital download and limited 12” vinyl, the NEVER MACHINE demo EP is four tracks of classic doom metal, as only The Doomfather could craft.
NEVER MACHINE bears more of a resemblance to his day job in Candlemass than it does to the more experimental leanings of his 2008 SONGS OF JOY, SONGS OF LIGHT solo opus or to his occult rock outfit Avatarium. I’m sure there’s a personal distinction as to why these songs don’t have a ‘Mass logo slapped on the cover, but any way you slice it, they’re solid. “The Sceptre” and the title track both shine with an old school TALES OF CREATION vibe, full of chunky, pounding riffs. “Zodiac City” is genuinely unnerving with soft spoken stealth, while the closing “The Whispering” is a beautiful, renaissance fueled lament. Edling’s vocals don’t have the range of Messiah or Leven, but the music is structured in such a way that you don’t miss the soaring bellows. He’s no musical slouch either, handling most of the instrumentation across the EP. The drums sound programmed, but he’s got respectable six string chops, and he knows how to build musical arrangements like nobody’s business.
As NEVER MACHINE is explicitly labeled as a “Demo EP”, you shouldn’t be offended if the production is a little rough around the edges. You should, however, be hopeful that a demos worth of material that’s given this much attention will lead to a proper full length release. The Doomsday Kingdom may well be the next creative obsession for Leif Edling if/when Candlemass eventually does retire, and NEVER MACHINE is an exciting prospect of what he may have in store for us.