Company: Nuclear Blast Release: 2009 Genre: Doom Reviewer: Raising Iron
Destined to land in many top ten lists come the end of the year
One of Sweden's greatest exports of doom return with their latest gloom-infused offering entitled Death Magic Doom. Candlemass continue to be relevant to the metal scene as a whole (let alone being one of doom metal's founders behind grand-daddy Black Sabbath) despite being well beyond twenty years into the game now. The 2006 departure (second time!) of their most recognizable frontman Messiah Marcolin had many wondering if the band could carry forth the exceptional performance found on 2005's self-titled effort. The recruit of Solitude Aeturnus' Rob Lowe is now proven to be no fluke with this latest disc, as 2007's dark and sinister King of the Grey Islands wasn't merely an exceptionally fortuitous release, but rather what looks to be the dawn of a(nother!) new era in Candlemass' canon.
Those who enjoyed King of the Grey Islands are sure to gorge themselves on Death Magic Doom. The album kicks off with an upbeat, speedy number called "If I Ever Die", and then suddenly applies the brakes for the sure-to-be live staple, "Hammers of Doom"; an insistently slow number wrapped around a riff that exudes doom in its most traditional and purest of senses. The third track - probably the best on the disc - is "The Bleeding Baroness", ethereally cloaked in quiet, clean, and foreboding guitars until the heaviosity of the chorus comes a-slaying. "Demon of the Deep" follows in similar fashion, giving way to the quite atmospheric and mid-paced "House of 1000 Voices", a song punctuated with great melodic leads, and definitely the most epic track to be found on the album. Next up is the fastest song to be found this time around, called "Dead Angel", which includes an infectious chorus and more excellent leads by guitarist Lars Johansson. The ensuing "Clouds of Dementia" is the only song that may possibly border on filler; a good riff carries the entire track, but it's a bit mundane and generic. The album proper closes with "My Funeral Dreams"; another epic track that rightly slams the leaded door shut on this surefire endeavor. Some releases contain "Lucifer Rising" and/or "White God" as bonus tracks, both off last year's Lucifer Rising EP.
Rob Lowe's singing this time around has certainly come into its own, as bassist Leif Edling has stated the songs this time around were written with his vocal style in mind, and it's another welcome aspect of this disc, as his pernicious snarl roars to full effect. The riffs, being plentiful and doom-drenched of the highest order, give fans assuredness that main songwriter Leif has yet to exhaust his effluent well (of souls!).
Candlemass have added eight more songs to their now overflowing catalogue, of which at least two to three here are sure to see regular rotation on the live circuit. Death Magic Doom is an apt title for an album by one of doom metal's greatest progenitors; perfectly fusing the atmosphere of death with the mystification of magic inside doom's milieu, resulting in what is destined to land in many top ten lists come the end of the year.
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