Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy
2/8/2010 - Review by: Raising Iron
There's no question Mr. Leif Edling carries a predilection for psychedelia when it comes his music. This is quite evident on his newest solo venture entitled Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy. Momentarily stepping aside from his main machine Candlemass, the bassist has conjured up eight songs of doom rooted in its most traditional and purest of forms, at least where the core structures of the songs are concerned. Each track (save number five, which is simply a short bass solo interlude) at its center revolves around a singular orthodox doom riff whilst the other instruments venture off into the more psychedelic circulations of his other projects; say, Abstrakt Algebra or Candlemass circa From the 13th Sun and Dactylus Glomerata.
Another factor in the formula used here is the accompanying keyboards to the riff(s), adding depth and grief to the songs, although they are mixed a bit too far back in most cases. Leif takes on for the first time vocal duties as well, which are relatively clean with a sort of black metal rasp ever present; rich echo effects in place, and sometimes more spoken than sung.
What this all adds up to is an overall average release. The attempted atmospheres achieve their mission, but there's just too much sameness and not enough variety to completely absorb the listener. Yeah, the riffs are very good; downtuned, slow, and heavy as desired, but with basically one riff to each song it's not enough. Fortunately, all the songs except the epic final track (around nine and a half minutes) clock in around the five to six minute mark, ending the monotony before it starts to irritate. Spacey guitar effects are used aplenty, forcing the character of the songs into hallucinatory trajectories.
Happily, as said earlier, the songs at least are rooted in old-school, heavy doom, as opposed to the mid-era Candlemass releases, which were built from the ground up with psychedelic/ambience being the premise, and ultimately that's what saves this release. All in all, there's nothing here to make heads turn, but enough to please the long-time Candlemass fans.
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