Despite having a festival, TV show and even an action figure inhonour of his “metalness”, if Ozzy Osbourne ever sits at home wonderingif he is remembered for his musical influence, he need look no furtherthan Candlemass’ latest offering of doom-core (no, really!) mayhem.
After reforming with original opera-versed vocalist Messiah (that’shis name not an eloquent affirmation) in 2002 for a tour and livealbum release, the Swedes decided to pen some more gloom-filled tunesand reform proper for their seventh and eponymously-titled effort.
Having carved more than a niche for themselves in the late’80s, Candlemass are a bunch of veteranscurrently dusting off their instruments for some comeback action.Those who have followed this band throughout their 19-year career willhave witnessed band break-ups, line-up changes and numerous varietiesof monk’s costumes (!). One unwavering yardstick of consistency, however, isthe quintet’s relentless devotion to the sludgy, monstrous sound thatthey were instrumental in forging: that of the much ridiculed, littleunderstood genre of Doom Metal.
Doom Metal is an apt way to describe the lyrics, sound and aura of a band whodrone their way through nine new tracks of rehashed, not so groundbreaking material, which, nevertheless, are a definitive soundtrack to Armageddon in slow motion
Candlemass are renowned for crafting dark, atmospheric soundscapes andand then tearing them apart with brutal distortion and the kind of howling vocalsthat would make most tom-cats blush. They most certainly don’t wasteany time getting down to business, with opener Black Dwarf seeking toprove that although the Swedes may be aging, mellowing theyare certainly not. An ultra-cheesy guitar solo kicks in after just twoand a half minutes, which is done even more damage by the oh not soinsightful lyrics: “You’re playing tricks, six hundred six six, the devil’sdictating the news.”
Assassins of the night puts us squarely back indoom and gloom quarters once more, with a crushing riff and someTool-esque drum work that has progressed since the ’80s.
Copernicus drops to a deathly slow funeral hymn and dabbles insome serious prog-metal – picture early Genesis with theaforementioned Mr Osbourne on vocals.
Instrumental, The Man Who Fell From the Sky is a brilliant example of Doom Metal at its very worst, for, in reality, unless one is very drunk or under the influence of some not so edifying narcotics, only so much repetition of a four-chord pattern that can be swallowed before boredom forces you to sleep.
It is possible that Candlemass will win a few new fans with this album, although I can’t help feeling that their best-of would be a much wiser investment. Still, Candlemass did redefine the concept of sludgy Doom riffage, so they will always deserve some credit.