Candlemass - Death Magic Doom
Where Black Sabbath carried the torch of doom metal from it's beginnings throughout the 1970's, Sweden's Candlemass have arguably carried it throughout the 80's and beyond. Their brilliant debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus drew much praise and, despite numerous line-up changes (the only mainstay being founding bassist Leif Edling) they've gone on to make a series of epic, challenging doom metal. Over 20 years since their debut and they are again ready to justify their spot atop the mountain with Death Magic Doom.
Leif Edling was bold enough to claim this album to be their best since the widely-loved Twilight. I see very little room to argue. Songs such as "If I Ever Die", "The Bleeding Baroness" and "House Of Thousand Voices" are some of the best they've been responsible for. A lot of long-time fans will still be lamenting the loss of popular vocalist Messiah Marcolin, but it's hard to complain with his replacement, Robert Lowe. Lowe is most famous for fronting another extremely popular and influential doom metal act, Solitude Aeturnus and his vocals bring these low-tempo stompers some higher-ended bravado and flair. The songs shift from down-trodden doomers to more upbeat classic metal sections and back again, all the while displaying a quality of songwriting that must make most Sabbath worshippers weak at the knees. They're actually so far beyond comparing to Osbourne and Iommi's classic outfit that they should be considered in a league all their own.
With 8 doom masterpieces clocking in at just under 50 minutes, Death Magic Doom delivers on all counts. It might or might not be the best thing they've accomplished in over a decade and that will be up to the fans to decide, but what they do accomplish here is not to be trifled with. Never overbearing in the way some depressive doom can be, Candlemass are masters at the art of creating atmospheres of dread, despair and destruction while at the same time leaving ample space for melody, rhythm and catchy songwriting. If you've never given them a chance, metalheads, this is the perfect place to start.
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