Candlemass – The Door to Doom
Candlemass have come full circle: their first singer Johan Langquist (who left the band after singing on the legendary 1986 debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus) has returned! The Door To Doom unsurprisingly follows the plotline mastermind, songwriter and bass player Leif Edling established in the past years: epic world-class doom metal that relies on slow mammoth riffing. With Johan Langquist`s highly dramatic vocal style and the love for details, the band made this album to the next “Epicus”. This masterpiece is rounded off by a beautiful guest appearance by none other than Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi on ‘Astorolus – The Great Octopus‘.
When I first heard that Johan Langqvist was returning to Candlemass as their new vocalist, I was a bit optimistic, and as it turned out, it was well justified. I mean come on, this one guy sang six songs nearly years ago and has somehow managed to retain the ‘God-like’ status among fans and is still hailed as a legend…from one album. Don’t get me wrong, all of Candlemasses past vocalists were great, Messiah Marcolin, Robert Lowe, Mats Leven, they were all good and I enjoyed each one in their own way, but I cannot ignore the deep love I had for the voice of Johan Längqvist. In my personal opinion, Johan not only has a better voice but the one that was able to reel me into Candlemass from the very beginning and made me the dedicated fan I still am to this day. So yeah, I had very high hopes for this album after I heard it would be their next.
After my very first listen to “The Door to Doom” I have to say that I was not let down one bit. I think any long-time fan of Candlemass will find that whatever it was that first drew them to this band will still appeal to them with this album as well. On the other hand, any newcomer will be pleased to know this album is not simply a throwback of a time they don’t remember but is time expanding a formula that proves to reach back to the earliest days of metal’s longstanding history. For Candlemass has returned indeed, with an impressive heavy album that I truly doubt will be bettered by any other doom metal band or most any heavy metal band this year.
I believe that saying “The Door to Doom” is a strong return for Candlemass would be a bit of an understatement since this is no doubt the band’s first release in nearly seven years. The album proves that founder, bassist and songwriter Leif Edling is back in top form as Candlemass’s main writer and that he still manages to produce good quality lyrics. The album has a general atmosphere of impending doom, as you would expect, and the musicianship is energetic and the writing is very much still focused on Leif still being the driving force behind Candlemass. Leif stated that bassist TonyIommi’s involvement was incredibly meaningful. “For me personally this is a dream come true. Tony Iommi has always been my hero and guiding light when it comes to heavy music, so to hear that he likes the song and also would like to play on it, gave me chills down the spine,” Edling had said in a recent press release. “Tony Iommi is and will always be God!”
The overall production is how a great doom band should sound, guitar solos that are well executed and well-positioned, a nicely done mix of thundering drum beats, full mid-range super heavy guitars that crush, riff after riff, while mixing in a splash of psychedelia, occasional layers of keyboard here and there, and that ever so deep rumbling bass that only Leif can do. Bass is meant to sound like a real bass, and that’s exactly what Leif has always done, low and crushingly heavy, a seriously missing aspect with too many of today’s bass players. The songwriting is also something you’d expect if you’ve listened to Candlemass before, that makes each track so captivating and alluring, and with a gripping presence that only experience can hand you. Langqvist’s voice remains true to form. It’s as if incredibly he’s never been away. Some may say that Langqvist doesn’t sound the same, but don’t forget, voices changes with age, and in this case that not even close to a bad thing, as his voice has weathered brilliantly.
There is something incredibly gripping and captivating about the songs throughout this album. The first three tracks of The Door to Doom get the epicness rolling, each one running over six minutes. The opener “Splendor Demon Majesty” opens up slow at first, but then the heavy riffs kick in and the vocals soar right up into the universe. “Astoroulus – The Great Octopus” could easily be the album’s best song, even without Iommi’s electrifying solo, although this undoubtedly hits the mark and makes quite an impact, and very worthy of some serious headbanging. The songs of this album definitely have something to offer every doom fan, all are solid, and all offered with a dose of doom metal that is ever so masterfully done.
“The Door to Doom” was a very welcomed album for me, and one of the best doom albums I’ve heard in a long while, it shows what doom metal truly is. This is Candlemass all the way, with the teasing of retirement for many years now, the grandfathers of epic doom metal, the legendary Candlemass, have managed to pull off their much-needed comeback album as Langqvist returns to the band for an additional chapter, a vocalist who for the most part remained more a memory than anything else. 1986’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus inspired hundreds of bands across the world, carving the band’s name into metal history. Reunited at last Candlemass seems ready to tackle their own legacy once more. Candlemass gives us another dose of their very best and reaches out to prove that they still have what it takes to keep their crown as the Kings of Doom. If “The Door to Doom” doesn’t ignite that old doomy magical flame in you, I don’t think anything ever will.
Album: The Door to Doom
Released: February 22, 2019
Label: Napalm Records
Producer: Marcus Jidell
Genre: Doom Metal
Website: Official Website
Discs: 1 disc
Reviewed by: Doc Butcher
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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