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Candlemass : The Door To Doom

Candlemass come full circle with their original vocalist, and reaffirm their crucial, astonishing legacy of Doom in doing so.

Doom lovers look no further – this truly a monumental moment for our beloved genre. When someone says Doom, one immediately thinks of Sabbath – and Candlemass. Other than Sabbath, there has truly been no other band to contribute more to Doom. Thirty-five years ago, bass powerhouse and main writer Leif Edling put the band together. If one thinks about the musical climate back then – Mötley Crüe and Ratt in the mainstream and Metallica and Mercyful Fate dominating the underground – playing slow, majestic dirges was definitely not en vogue. Thus, the true testament to the band’s mettle and dedication is established. Candlemass has always been about playing the music they love, that which is born deep within. It shows! People can spot insincerity a mile away, and it is with honesty that this band forged their career and maintained it for so many years.

It has been seven long years since their last full-length, 'Psalms for the Dead'. With that being said, they have returned with full force. Many folks mistakenly believe that the vocalist for their mighty debut, 'Epicus Doomicus Metallicus' (quite possibly the best album title ever!), was Messiah Marcolin; however, he did not join until 1987’s 'NIghtfall'. Johan Längquist lent his vocals to their powerful debut and despite the band practically begging him to stay, left shortly thereafter to pursue other ventures. Now, thirty-three years later, Mr. Längquist is back bringing Candlemass full circle. How are his vocals now and compared to their first album, and how has this affected the songs written on the album? Let’s find out.

Candlemass have created a full album but have not overstayed their welcome. Eight songs, a nice even amount, is fully sufficient for a band whose craft is usually a bit on the long side anyway. With myriad tracks of perfectly blended feedback, similar to the beginning of every Eyehategod song live, Candlemass launch into the first track, 'Splendor Demon Majesty'. After some massive, epic chords to proclaim the beginning of the proceedings, they launch into an up-tempo chugging riff. It is when the band reaches the chorus that we are truly treated to the power of Johan’s vocals. They are indeed forceful with a resolute amount of flair to stamp his unique signature upon the song. It is difficult to imagine a more fitting opening for 'The Door to Doom'. This is classic Candlemass with modern production and as the lyrics proclaim at the end, "to the sound of six, six, six".

'Astorolus - The Great Octopus', the third track, is an instant classic. With a massively heavy, slow churning riff, the song begins and is ultimately framed. Like the master, Tony Iommi, they just back off the volume to clean up the guitar during the verse section. Speaking of Mr. Iommi, the master himself lends a hand on this song. His is a stately, colossal approach to the solo. Exploiting the neck pickup for that deep, unflinching, soulful Gibson SG sound, he adds some poignant wah pedal. Guitar players daydream about tone so pure, vibrant, defined – all from the hands of the man that created the music we love. Meanwhile, the rhythms underneath are sufficiently gargantuan making a ubiquitous example of what it means to be Metal.

Also, of note is the sixth track, 'Black Trinity', and the final track and longest on the album, 'The Omega Circle'. 'Black Trinity' begins with some gritty, snarling, over-saturated guitar. Soon, though, the song launches into familiar territory, the Epic Doom that Candlemass staked their career upon. The chorus specifically slams, seriously hitting hard with a Tyson-thrown uppercut. When the solo arrives, though it is short, it makes a ferocious statement, howling like a banshee spawned from the nether realm. 'The Omega Circle' begins with melodic vocals set against crisp, bright acoustic. Not long after, though, the gigantic, methodically-plodding Metal beast returns. If one had to pick a band that has waved the banner of Sabbath the most honestly, proudly, and vigorously, it could be none other than Candlemass. This final track is a splendid example of the diversity the band commands in their songwriting, and it is the most ideal of the eight presented to conclude such a monumental undertaking as this album.

The individual performances on 'The Door to Doom' are nothing short of exemplary. As always, Leif Edling’s bass rumbles beneath the guitar creating its own sonic space. With the amount of experience he has had, he is able to dial in the most ideal bass tone for the band – low, wide, and dirty but retaining the proper amount of clarity needed to make it really stand out. Both guitars are soaked in practically as much distortion possible without permanent feedback. Just how much gain is present is realized at the points of the album where they play without accompaniment. Each note is perfectly articulated and each chord rings out with ample – more than ample – sustain. Jan Lindh delivers a crushing performance on the drums as he manages to present as much variance as possible to keep the rhythm from sounding stale. The way he is able to introduce double bass in parts that are in the slower, mid-tempo the band normally maintains is truly remarkable. Johan Längquist truly hit it out of the park on this album. Being a big fan of Solitude Aeturnus, I was dismayed when I heard Robert Lowe had departed. To see the band come full circle, though, is priceless. The vocals are powerful, performed with painstaking amounts of pure soul. Having him back in the band is truly special.

This album is nothing short of incredible. Usually, I am the type of listener who has to change albums when one finishes; however, I found myself listening to this album a surprising five times in a row recently. It never became old or tired, but rather presented me with new insights on each listen. Such is the mark of a good album, a classic album. 'The Door to Doom' is the shot in the arm that the scene needs now and has for some time. When a band reaches the status Candlemass has, they deserve the right to take their time between albums. They have proven that time has not aged their sound but rather refined it allowing them to polish their songwriting. This album will be in heavy rotation indefinitely.

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Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Splendor Demon Majesty
2. Under The Ocean
3. Astorolus – The Great Octopus
4. Bridge Of The Blind
5. Deaths Wheel
6. Black Trinity
7. The House Of Doom
8. The Omega Circle

Duration : Approx. 49 minutes

Visit the Candlemass bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-03-11 by Chris Hawkins
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