The purveyors of modern doom have returned! Sweden's Candlemass have once again regrouped after 2002's reunion and subsequent break-up in 2004, to deliver their first release on Nuclear Blast Records. Candlemass is a wonderful return to form for this mighty band, as they deliver ten tracks of solid melodic doom littered with heavy guitar riffs, plodding rhythms, and the soaring vocals of one Messiah Marcolin, whose range and power is as strong as ever.
The CD kicks off with the thrashy "Black Dwarf", a song that has some rather strange lyrics but is surely not lacking in the musical firepower department. The band slows things down a bit for the evil dirge of "Seven Silver Keys", a heavy doom number dripping with melancholy. Here, the guitar team of Mats Bjorkman and Lars Johansson lay down thick power chords that are supplemented by keyboards and the rock solid rhythms of bassist Leif Edling and drummer Jan Lindh. Johansson rips into a virtuoso guitar solo, which gives way to Marcolin's passionate vocal delivery, as the two players give fine performances on one of the best cuts on the album. On "Assassin of the Light", a driving mid-tempo piece, the guitars are fierce and crunchy, building a huge wall of sound that provides Marcolin with the foundation to let his vocals soar. 'Copernicus" is another slower droning number, very similar to the material that the band was doing back on their classic Nightfall album. A similar approach is taken on the heavy yet highly melodic "The Man Who Fell From the Sky", one of the best doom instrumentals you will ever hear, featuring huge slabs of crunchy guitar work. There's the rampaging & galloping sounds of "Witches", a tune that will instantly help you relive the 80's Metal years (and features a kick ass solo from Johansson), and "Born in a Tank" sees the band pay homage to their heroes Black Sabbath, with huge guitar sounds, pounding rhythms, and Messiah's vocals leading the way.
As most fans of Candlemass seem to really love the slower tunes, the band does not dissappoint here, especially with the grinding "Spellbreaker", a brutally heavy piece, or the closing mammoth sounds of "The Day and the Night", with Marcolin's operatic wailings slicing through the heavy wall o' doom. This piece perfectly exemplifies the term "death march" with its slow & heavy guitar dirge that instantly urges the listener to raise their first in the air and bang their head to the crushing sounds. Johansson's crazy wah-wah laced guitar solo is purely icing on the cake on this gem of a song, one that will surely become a favorite of Candlemass fans worldwide. Another speedy number, "Mars and Volcanos", is included as a bonus track.
Well folks, you have been warned-Candlemass are back, and better than ever. This self-titled release will easily rank up there with classics like Nightfall and Ancient Dreams, and it is easily one of the best metal releases so far in 2005.
1) Black Dwarf
2) Seven Silver Keys
3) Assassin of the Light
5) The Man Who Fell From the Sky
7) Born in a Tank
9) The Day and the Night
10) Mars and Vocanos-Bonus Track