The Swedish epic doom metal legends Candlemass have returned with a new album with, believe it or not, the original line-up.
Candlemass’ debut was released almost 20 years ago in 1986, called EPICUS DOOMICUS METALLICUS, but it wasn’t until the next album NIGHTFALL came the year after that the band gained success and their name started to spread within the metal scene. The lead singer Messiah left the band in 1989 right after the release of the concept album TALES OF CREATION. The remaining line-up continued to release albums (that came ‘98 and ‘99) with two different singers. The last album they released was a double live album called DOOMED FOR LIVE in 2002.
Messiah returned to Candlemass 2002 and they immediately went on the road, but shortly after that the band collapsed once again. They reunited once more and so the story has continued until today.
I’ve had this album for a while now and for starters I didn’t like it at all. I couldn’t recognize Candlemass ‘cause on this album they sound totally different from what they did back in the old days. But after a while I find myself thinking the album is actually pretty good. If you’re thinking that this album is gonna sound anything like their first ones you’re dead wrong. They have moved a bit outside the frame of doom metal but they still have the same heavy genius guitar riffs along with Messiah’s distinctive voice. They have also got several strong songs with some really catchy choruses that’ll be perfect when they tour this summer. Candlemass have updated their sound for the 21st century, it still sounds like them but they have refined it a lot.
The material varies between everything from more classic doom metal and faster metal (for Candlemass that is). There are some brilliant vocal parts and melodies and some heavy guitars and well structured arrangements. Leif has also produced the album but he hasn’t done such a good job with the production as he has writing the songs. The album sounds dry and a bit anonymous, lacking feeling.
One of the stronger songs is the opening track “Black Dwarfs”. If you think of the speed Candlemass songs usually are, this can only be referred to as speed metal. The chorus is really catchy and the song caught my ear at once. In “Seven silver keys” and “Assassin of the light” they have returned to the more classical Candlemass sound. The guitars sound extremely heavy and we find a lot of tempo changes in the songs. “Witches” and “Copernicus” contain more of the slow motion doom metal they played back in the ‘80s.
I think Candlemass have done a terrific job with this album and they have managed to update themselves brilliantly. It’s a strong comeback album packed with heavy songs and heavy guitar play and Messiah shows that his voice is intact. In fact he sounds almost a little bit better now compared to before.
The only minor thing I come to think of regarding this album is the low budget cover artwork and the production. I can guess that older fans of Candlemass have trouble to take this album to their hearts but if you just give it time I can assure you, you’ll love it.
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