Candlemass – The Door To Doom

Reviewed: May, 2019
Released: 2019, Naplam Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Erich

The processional marches on amid a dizzying array of lineup changes, especially in singers that would humble Spinal Tap and their revolving door of drummers. All of this has been accompanied by the rampant speculation fueled by thinly veiled hints from Leif Edling that each new Candlemass album could be the last. Unsurprisingly, inconsistent lineups often lead to inconsistent albums, so it is easy to see why much of the band’s fan congregation has departed. Yet, almost stealthily the Candlemass is back in 2019 with a hybrid of the band’s two most popular lineups that performed on their two best albums: EPICUS, DOOMICUS, METALLICUS, and NIGHTFALL. Replacing departed vocalist Mats Levén is none other than Johan Längqvis, singer on the foundational doom slab EPICUS.

With an eye to the past, THE DOOR TO DOOM numbers just 8 tracks, as on the EPICUS debut. The songwriting is uncomplicated and stripped down to just the essentials needed for the band’s patented plodding attack. “Splendor Demon Majesty” is classic Candlemass, opening the album with a foreboding sequence of notes, harmonized right before the chugging riffs kick in. The bridge is simply fantastic and one of the few unconventional passages on an album committed to purity of traditional doom. This is also the first time in what feels like ages that Lars Johansson has let rip on a solo that reminds me of just how good he is when he gets down to business.

“Under The Ocean” begins as a ballad before crashing power chords end that path. At this point, it becomes clear that Längqvis has lost some range but still delivers with power and variety. Catching most of the early press attention was the announcement of Tony Iommi appearing on the song “Astorolus – The Great Octopus.” Guest appearances often fail to live up to the hype, but this is one of the best and most eerie tracks on the album, and the Lovecraftian theme and visuals of the video perfectly match the music. I will resist the temptation for a track by track accounting, and just say that “The Omega Circle” closes the album in EPICUS fashion, ending another chapter in the Candlemass catalog.

Putting THE DOOR TO DOOM in context with the band’s entire catalog (this is the 12th studio album), will take some time and hindsight. For now, this is easily the best and most consistent album since DEATHMAGIC DOOM. Edling’s bass is simply booming through the entire album and there is an unmistakable sense of renewed energy and enthusiasm from the band. Considering the instability of lineups through the band’s history, there is no guarantee that this incarnation will last for long. For now, we have an inspired Candlemass making new and vital music again and that is a good thing for all fans of doom metal.


Videos


Track Listing:

1. Splendor Demon Majesty
2. Under the Ocean
3. Astorolus – The Great Octopus” (featuring Tony Iommi)
4. Bridge of the Blind
5. Death’s Wheel
6. Black Trinity
7. House of Doom
8. The Omega Circle

Lineup:

Johan Längqvist / vocals
Mats “Mappe” Björkman / rhythm guitar
Lars Johansson / lead guitar
Leif Edling / bass
Jan Lindh / drums

Websites

www.candlemass.se/

www.facebook.com/candlemass/

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About Erich Heintzelman

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