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Candlemass : King of the Grey Islands

The Swedish doom masters are back with their latest release. A release that was awaited by the whole doom world, mainly for the fact that the new singer of Candlemass is from now on the one and only Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus. Well, a record that features the ultimate riff machine - Leif Edling - and the ultimate voice of mourn – Robert Lowe - is, with no doubt, something special. So let’s examine if the record finally satisfies everyone’s wild dreams.

I was somehow prepared for what to listen to on this album as I was focused into the latest releases under the sign of Leif Edling. The latest Krux album (and the debut if you want) as well as the same titled Candlemass album, released just before this one, were good reference points for me and for everyone to understand the general musical background that Mr. Edling is moving right now. A musical background that is mostly based on low tuned guitar riffs, gray, haunted melodies, and a tombstone rhythm section of doom.

The vocals of Robert Lowe have been successfully harmonized into the record’s whole atmosphere, enforcing each song and offering a unique, special result. In here we can listen to voice lines which are based on mysterious and dark melodies, bringing in mind both the deep and mysterious choruses that we have recently heard in some parts of the latest Solitude Aeturnus album ’Alone’ and the haunted voice parts of Solitude Aeturnus ’Adagio’ album as well. Keep in mind that in here, Robert’s voice is a black piece of the final doom puzzle and not one of the main reference points as it usually happens in the Solitude Aeturnus releases. Additionally, in this record he sings in a more bleak and haunted way, letting us hear a different but still great vocal approach.

Being focused more to the music included in here, we can hear this special type of doom metal that Mr. Edling likes to create lately: Songs based on low tuned and long doomy riffs in basically mid to slow tempos. All these enforced with deep, melodic choruses – probably the most characteristic and melodic choruses of Candlemass since ages thanks to Mr. Lowe-. A strong Krux-ish touch can be heard, and if you listen more carefully you even realize the existence of some Abstract Algebra features in the album. Want some song references? Ok. ‘Emperor of the Void’ is an ideal opening track; mid tempo with some fast parts, catchy, deadly and Krux inspired. ‘Devil Seed’ has that slight Abstract Algebra touch in it; ‘Of Stars and Smoke’ is one of the greater songs in here - gloomy, deep and mysterious with a great melodic chorus; ‘Demonia 6’ is one of the album’s weak moments; ‘Destroyer’ is a doom metal anthem carrying that special mixture of gloom and hate; ‘Man of Shadows’ is one of the most brilliant moments of the album especially due to Robert’s vocals; ‘Clearsight’ and ‘The Opal City’ help the listener to dive even deeper into the dark vortex of the record; and the final track called ‘Embracing the Styx’ is simply another top moment of the record - a strange, mysterious, and beautiful musical journey. My favorites are of course ‘Of Stars and Smoke’, ‘Man of Shadows’, and ‘Embracing the Styx’ - mostly due to the magnificent melodies, the tombstone riffs and the vocal lines of the magician Robert Lowe.

I am happy to notice one of the top doom metal bands of all time returning with an inspired album that everyone will enjoy by simply ignoring the expectations for a second ’Epicus Domicus Metallicus’ enforced with Lowe’s vocals. Mr. Edling is the one and only who finally decides the route of Candlemass, and instead of the epic mourns of the past, he now decides to walk deeper into a foggy, doom metal abyss offering up to us the treasures that he has found there. I am with him; at least the result is DOOM and has nothing in common with the happy hippie mediocrity that some others are offering lately. Long live Candlemass! Long live DOOM METAL! Slay the hippies, slay the weak!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Prologue
2. Emperor of the Void
3. Devil Seed
4. Of Stars and Smoke
5. Demonia 6
6. Destroyer
7. Man of Shadows
8. Clearsight
9. The Opal City
10. Embracing the Styx

Duration : Approx. 54 mins.

Visit the Candlemass bandpage.

Reviewed on 29-10-2007 by Chris Papadakis
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