Candlemass - The Door To Doom (Napalm Records)[Preview]
About The Band
Formed in 1984, Candlemass are one of the purveyors of Doom Metal. Releasing their classic debut, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, in 1986, they became an instantly recognizable voice in the burgeoning Metal scene. Following their debut, singer Johan Langqvist left the band and a succession of singers followed over the next three decades, most notably Messiah Marcolin, who fronted the band during their highest profile eras, though it’s always been steered confidently by Leif Edling. The Door to Doom is their 12th studio album and features the return of original singer Johan Langqvist after a 32-year hiatus. Also, notable here is a guest appearance by the godfather of all things heavy, Tony Iommi on “Astorolus- The Great Octopus.”
The Door To Doom
The fact is, this album is a friggin’ beast. I wasn’t sure what to expect of Langqvist decades later but, holy hell, does he sound magnificent. He commands the plodding and pulsating rhythms as if he never left. “Splendor Demon Majesty” opens the album with thick, heavy riffing that twists into a more uptempo groove than the band have offered in a good long time. Once the band get rolling, the off-kilter choirs, riffing, and Langqvist’s significantly wider-ranged voice kick into high gear, proving, yet again, why they are the template for Doom Metal. It’s a spectacular start.
“Astorolus- The Great Octopus” is just as epic as you’d expect from a song featuring Tony Iommi. It’s moody and heavy and dark, walking the listener through a story reminiscent of Dio-era Black Sabbath. This song is so thick sounding that you’ll be drooling all over yourself by halfway through. The spiraling guitars conjure up near perfect images in your brain. It’s coupled with the majestic, yet significantly quieter, “Bridge of the Blind.” This mostly acoustic number adds an incredible dynamic to the record and, once again, showcases the wide range their new/old singer is capable of.
“House of Doom” is another favorite of mine, from the rain and church bells sample that set the tone to the buzzsaw guitar work to the commanding lead vocal. It’s the chorus that really gets me though, it’s as majestic as they come and it’s a shame that we will likely never hear this one played in an arena. The seven minute and change “The Omega Circle” closes out the album with the kind of Heavy Metal storytelling that permeates the record. It offers glimpses of Candlemass’ past, present, and future.
You know, I wasn’t super stoked to hear this record, despite enjoying the band since their debut. It just seemed like it would be another link in the chain, likable, but maybe not so memorable. I was totally and completely wrong. The Door to Doom stands with Candlemass’ finest moments and may just be the best thing that they have ever recorded. This record is so much more dynamic than their other post reunion albums and some of that is due to Langqvist’s broader vocal range. What really stands out here though is the simple fact that these are a great batch of songs with memorable riffs. I hope the band can keep this version together because, while this lineup feels familiar, it also feels incredibly fresh.