CANDLEMASS

The Door To Doom

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Album Reviews - DOM LAWSON

NAPALM

Swe­den’s doom kings rise again as the voice of Soli­tude re­turns

If you give even the re­motest toss about doom metal, the news that Jo­han Längqvist has re­turned to Candlemass af­ter a 32-year gap should have made you do what­ever the doom equiv­a­lent of a happy dance might be. A for­lorn fox­trot, per­haps? Hav­ing sung on the Swedish leg­ends’ sem­i­nal de­but, Epi­cus Doomi­cus Me­tal­li­cus, back in 1986, Längqvist could eas­ily have stayed in the shad­ows and not risked a po­ten­tially per­ilous se­quel. But class is, as they say, eter­nal, and The Door To Doom not only re­veals that founder, bassist and chief song­writer Leif Edling is back to top form as a riff-writer, but also that Längqvist’s voice re­mains his ul­ti­mate foil. It sounds, some­what in­cred­i­bly, as if he’s never been away.

Never a band to mess with a frankly shit-hot for­mula, Candlemass be­gin their 12th al­bum with Splen­dor De­mon Majesty, im­me­di­ately tick­ing an im­por­tant box by kick­ing off with a lum­ber­ing, Sab­bathian riff of in­cal­cu­la­ble huge­ness. It all feels like busi­ness as usual un­til Längqvist ar­rives, backed by some eerie vo­cal har­monies and un­der­pinned by an ensem­ble per­for­mance that feels ex­u­ber­ant, ag­gres­sive and hum­ming with ur­gency. His voice has weath­ered bril­liantly, the dul­cet rasp of old clas­sics such as Soli­tude re­born with added grit and oomph.

But what re­ally seals the deal is how Edling has con­jured songs that per­fectly show­case this re­newed meet­ing of cre­ative brains. From the hold-on-to-your-heads ex­plo­sive­ness of that open­ing track on­wards, The Door To Doom proves to be a straight­for­ward mas­ter­class in how to do doom metal prop­erly. And just in case you have any resid­ual doubts, the mo­ment when Tony Iommi him­self pops up mid­way through the su­perbly named As­toro­lus – The Great Oc­to­pus and lets rip with a solo of lifeaf­firm­ing bril­liance will have you howl­ing for more. As grimly dark and mon­strously heavy as this al­bum is, Längqvist has the time of his life through­out, and so will you.

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FOR FANS OF: Black Sab­bath, Cathe­dral,

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this Fear And Loathing... re­boot looks wicked

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