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Candlemass : From The 13th Sun

Candlemass' 'From the 13th Sun' is a masterpiece, hanging like a derelict spacecraft orbiting a doomed sun about to go supernova. Rarely has a group combined heavy, 'Sabbathy doom with spaced-out effects and sf lyrics to create such an otherworldly, tripped-out slab of genius, giving the grateful listener an instant contact high. The thick, druggy brilliance fairly oozes out of the speakers, demanding attention even as you plunge headlong into Candlemass' icy, doomed vision.

'From the 13th Sun' was the second signpost on the road to Candlemass' comeback, begun by bass player Leif Edling after the band broke up in the early 90s. With the relative lack of success of Edling's subsequent project, Abstrakt Algebra, he determined to resurrect the mighty Candlemass, this time without the operatic vocals of their well-known singer, Messiah Marcolin. The comeback began with 'Dactylis Glomerata'. Although 'Dactylis-' certainly had its moments, the album's recording turned into a time-consuming, bloated affair that was best avoided in the future. Thus, groupmeister Edling and crew determined to make 'From The 13th Sun' an altogether quicker affair, with a minimum of money shelled out for recording expenses.

Whatever the reasoning, it worked in spades. 'From The 13th Sun' unashamedly takes its inspiration from the first four Black Sabbath albums (hell, the album's dedicated to the group), most notably the first one and 'Master of Reality'. Add in some 'Doremifasolatido'-era Hawkwind special effects, and you've got it. And while Hawkwind's effects were rendered by synth player Del Dettmar, Candlemass opted to plunder the early-70s effects pedals belonging to guitarist Mats Stahl to get a similar effect. They're remarkable. Vocalist Bjorn Flodkvist eschews Marcolin's melodramatic style in favor of a thinner, slightly Ozzy-ish tone, and it works beautifully. The songwriting, largely by Edling, is nothing short of brilliant; a typical song on 'From The 13th Sun' would easily form the centrepiece of most trad doom albums. Each song is better than the last, from the robotic insistence of 'Droid' to the 'Black Sabbath' dynamic of 'Tot' to the evocative atmospherics of the quiet opening sequence of 'Galatea'.

The entire album is one of the ultimate trips in heavy music of any genre. Sure, there could have been a bit more bass, or the album might have been better off without 'Mythos' tacked on the end. Maybe. But the fact is, this is an essential, top-10 album for anyone even remotely interested in trad doom or space rock. No doom collection is complete without it.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Droid
2. Tot
3. Elephant Star
4. Blumma Apt
5. Arx/ng 891
6. Zog
7. Galatea
8. Cyclo-F
9. Mythos

Duration : Approx. 48 minutes

Visit the Candlemass bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
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