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Candlemass - Death Magic Doom (CD)

Candlemass
Death Magic Doom
by The Metal Temple Crew at 16 April 2009, 11:48 AM

CANDLEMASS is one of those bands that can proudly call themselves genre defining. More than two decades ago, Leif Edling founded the band that with Epicus Doomicus Metallicus took what BLACK SABBATH created and made it even more gloomy, dark and death embracing. Johan Langqvist's chilling voice introduced us to Doom Metal and from Nightfall and on (with a few breaks, breakups and reunions), the voice of doom himself, Messiah Marcolin, took over as one of the most distinguished figures to ever grace the world of Metal. Eventually in 2007 he parted ways with CANDLEMASS for the third time and Robert Lowe from SOLITUDE AETURNUS joined. King of the Grey Islands was a good and solid release and now they return with Death Magic Doom.
It seems like it will be a killer album; and frankly I can't imagine anyone expecting something less. After all it's them that have set the boundaries of this genre and know how to deliver doom in the best possible way. The haunting voice of Robert Lowe is at its best and the music is filled with gripping riffs and catatonic, almost suffocating mood.
Quality and production are one step ahead comparing to the King Of The Grey Islands with all the tracks made to grasp fully your attention.  Lots of non-standard organs were used as well to enhance the doom feeling, like bells, chimes, organs, etc. The top notch performance as well as the inspired song writing show that CANDLEMASS can still deliver albums worthy to the high standards the band has set all these years. From the starting song If I Ever Die, to the dark and gloomy The Bleeding Baroness and up to the last one My Funeral Dreams, this is a release bound to satisfy all the Doom Metal fans and not only.
And that's because ever since their self-titled album Candlemass it was obvious that Leif Edling chose to enrich their sound with more classic Heavy Metal elements, some faster-paced songs that still retained their doom identity though; and this is true in this album as well, yet executed even better than the previous times. It is a matter of taste after all, if you're a die-hard doom fan, it may seem a bit unfamiliar at first but if you keep an open mind you'll certainly enjoy this album. I can't help but thinking how it would sound with the great Messiah Marcolin instead and I bet that many people will wonder the same, but we can only guess. It's neither a classic nor a genre defying moment, but it is a great kickass album and it's CANDLEMASS all the way and it's definitely recommended.

Elina: 8/10

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Now that's something difficult. Doing a review to a band like CANDLEMASS needs a lot of your time in order to be as objective as possible. The first two or three times that I listened to the album I can't say that I was thrilled. Before you start throwing stones and then crucify me, let me tell you a few things about Death Magic Doom. First of all it is not a bad album at all. Hundreds of bands would kill just to have half of Edling's ideas. But this is not a traditional Doom album, in my humble opinion. Most of the songs have a more heavy approach. Songs like Death angel, The Bleeding Baroness and My Funeral Dreams cannot be written by anyone. And being heavier is not bad since the compositions have more power, but they lack that old dark doom mournful atmosphere. Maybe it's Edling that wanted that small turn, or it's because of Robert Lowe's voice. Even though his voice technically is better, I miss the tone of Marcolin's voice.
The production of the album is great! You can listen to every instrument and the voice of Lowe is not that in front. And as always you will listen to exotic organs such as wurlitzer organ, chimes and bells.
This is not their best album, truly. But it's a 100% CANDLEMASS album! Their fans will grab this album for sure. The ones that like the heavy/doom Metal sound will enjoy Death Magic Doom, too. As I mentioned before, there isn't anything bad in this album. It may also be the beginning of a new heavier era for the band. But in my humble opinion they can do even better than that. Ok that's about it. The band that still holds the doom Metal flag up is here with a new album. Enjoy it. Or, to be more precise: get doomed.

Harry: 7/10

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To be honest, I'm glad that notorious prima-donna Messiah Marcolin left CANDLEMASS. He had begun to rely too much on his vibrato and it was just too much for me, it made his vocals, and by extension the music, unenjoyable. The addition of Robert Lowe of SOLITUDE AETURNUS fame excited me, and while King Of the Grey Islands was not perfect, it was still excellent and Lowe did a fantastic job filling Marcolin's shoes.

Despite the terrible title, Death Magic Doom was in my top 5 of most anticipated releases of the year. I was curious to hear what CANDLEMASS would sound like writing songs for Lowe's voice; remember that when he joined, King Of The Grey Islands was already written. The two new songs on the Lucifer Rising EP were very good, but they did not adequately prepare me for what I heard on Death Magic Doom.

CANDLEMASS's albums were always a mixture of epic/power Metal and heavy, riff-based doom, and each album tended to either mix the two, or lean more deeply on the heaviness or an epic nature. Death Magic Doom certainly embraces bone-crushing heaviness in a way not heard since their debut album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (perhaps the title of this album is a reference to that classic?). The songs range from mid-paced to deathly slow, but regardless of the speed, bassist and band leader Leif Edling fills each of the songs with remarkable riffs the bludgeon the listener to the dirt. If you think that ALL THAT REMAINS and LAMB OF GOD are heavy, take a listen to Hammer Of Doom, sit down and shut up. It turns out that Robert Lowe is not only the perfect fit for CANDLEMASS, but his vocals and snarl allow the band to reach new heights that they could not achieve with their previous singer. Countering the heaviness throughout the album is Lars Johansson, who fills the album with excellent leads and solos.

2009 is shaping up to be a great year for the Metal genre. Already MASTODON's Crack The Skye was a candidate for album of the year and you can add Death Magic Doom to that list as well. Almost 25 years into their career, CANDLEMASS is as good as they've ever been; now if only they would do a full tour of the USA…

Mike: 9/10

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Let's start simple and straight. The new CANDLEMASS album is far better than the previous one. I don't know if it reaches the level of the self-titled one, that is something that any band's friend can judge, but here we have several things that make Death Magic Doom's buying essential.
First of all it has a great title that represents perfectly the music of this release and generally all the background of the group. Second, Robert Lowe offers an incredible performance and finally he seems total embodied with the musical vehicle of CANDLEMASS. But it's not only that. He upgrades with ease the songs' level with a voice that combines melancholy, metallum and expressiveness. Here I must mention that, on one hand, surely Lowe has done more powerful performances with the SOLITUDE AETURNUS structure but, on the other hand, right now he fits exactly with the more straight SABBATH-ian face that CANDLEMASS has. The mainman, Leif Edling, continues his own composition paroxysm road with eight killer tracks. In this record the band seems more focused to their desired destination; so well-tied together, they reflect the hard work they probably have done in the studio and provide a demonical 'transubstantiation' (sic) to an impellent force that excites the listener.
The album starts with a fast song, in the same way that the previous two and half albums started, but the Doom disposal will appear immediately with Hammer Of Doom, having a Black Sabbath base and being dark like facing the mire. Two tracks won instantly my impression: The Bleeding Baroness and House Of 1000 Voices. The first has a PERFECT refrain and the second an AMAZING PENTAGRAM-meets-BLACK SABBATH main riff that reaches the enjoyment of songs like Broken Vows. I am talking about such a riff. Of course the identity of the band is more that evident many times; for example, in Clouds Of Dementia it is a 100% old CANDLEMASS hymn.
All solos inside are more than satisfying but the ones of  House Of 1000 Voices probably will shock you and I think are the best. The whole artwork is fantastic, the cover is already cult to my eyes plus the special edition's layout with that like-a-scroll paper adds more bonus. And talking about bonus, that edition includes Lucifer Rising that - personally speaking - despite its simplicity destroys my ear drums.
Surely the CANDLEMASS style doesn't allow any breakthrough changes, although I would surely ask for something like that. If you see it with a clinical detachment in most times what we have is a total SABBATH-influenced thing but, and I must underline this, it happens not only purely 'fan driven' but also with colossal stockpiles of inspiration. And that is the reason why CANDLEMASS stand where they stand. And with such a singer they may even go higher than ever before.  

Yiannis DK: 8/10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
If I Ever Die
Hammer Of Doom
The Bleeding Baroness
Demon Of The Deep
House Of 1000 Voices
Dead Angel
Clouds Of Dementia
My Funeral Dreams
Lineup:
Robert Lowe - Vocals
Lars Lasse Johansson - Lead Guitar
Mats Mappe Bjorkman - Rhythm Guitar
Leif Edling - Bass
Jan Lindh - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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