Review Summary: A farewell to arms.
One of the major pursuits of ancient Greeks was to be remembered with honor and respect after their death, in years to come. Hence, everything they did or said, focused on making a significant breakthrough with reference to past achievements in the disciplines of arts, science, sports, and commercial or martial conduct. Swedish veteran doomsters Candlemass have undoubtedly earned their right in being remembered and mentioned in time to come, with their critical contribution in shaping the epic side of doom metal with their first four albums – Epicus, Doomicus, Metallicus
, Ancient Dreams
and Tales Of Creation
. At the dusk of 2011 and after two albums which justified their 2005 reunion, Candlemass surprised the metal world, announcing that they would conclude their 26-year career with the release of one final album. The reason for this farewell to arms lied in that the process of album-tour-album had become an unbearable burden for the band. Similar to Candlemass, English veteran doomsters Cathedral called it a day in 2011 because they weren't satisfied with their newly composed material, and announced, with their turn, the release of one final album sometime in 2012. One may argue that two of the most acclaimed European doom metal acts decided to cease their practice, in order to protect their reputation in years to come. Whereas the final Cathedral album is not yet finalized so as to give tangible proof in the aforementioned respect, it can be said with certainty that the final (?) Candlemass album, titled Psalms For The Dead
is a respectable farewell to arms for the Swedish craftsmen of doom.
The first few listening sessions of Psalms For The Dead
reveal that Candlemass standards have been met with ease once again, as this band simply doesn't know how to make a bad record. Edling's doom/'80s epic metal riffs and the wonderful lead guitars of Lasse Johansson are the main driving forces in the album, entraining the rhythm section along their conduct. In effect, the content of the album is fairly diversified, with epic doom prevailing over ‘80s metal, whereas there are cases where the latter genre tends to balance its presence over the former. Apart from the aforementioned styles, there is also a floating '70s rock vibe throughout the album, mostly due to the Hammond keyboards of guest musician Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars). With respect to the vocals, Lowe is doing a great job in transmitting the bleak content of both music and lyrics. However, his voice stretch is significantly restrained with respect to his previous work with the band or the first two Solitude Aeturnus records. Apart from the restrain in Lowe’s vocals, the characteristic song writing style of the band tends to be repetitive as the listening sessions keep piling up, subtracting future replay value.
As an epilogue, it is very difficult for a band to admit that the end is finally reached and the corresponding decision of Candlemass is no exception. The band chose to leave and be remembered with dignity and respect, rather than fade in utter disgrace by issuing albums of ever deteriorating quality. Psalms For The Dead
proves that Candlemass can certainly write good material at any given occasion, however this is not good enough, and that obsession with perfectionism is what separates really great bands from really average ones.
The Sound Of Dying Demons
Psalms For The Dead