Candlemass
Candlemass


4.5
superb

Review

by Steerpike USER (24 Reviews)
July 29th, 2006 | 22 replies | 7,609 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Candlemass have a long and storied history as one of the world’s most well-known and influential doom metal bands, but that’s a story for another time.

The group is the brainchild of bassist and writer Leif Edling who has been the common thread throughout the entire career of Candlemass and its multiple incarnations. However, the self-titled album that kicked off the reunion of the formerly defunct band has restored the classic line-up. Leif of course remains on the bass, along with operatic tenor Messiah Marcolin, guitarists Lars Johansson and Mappe Bjorkman, and drummer Jan Lindh.

Candlemass is primarily inspired by early-career Black Sabbath, so it’s no surprise there is a very heavy, classic metal tone throughout the album. However, this self-titled album is perhaps the band’s most diverse recording in their entire career. The old album with this line-up, classic though they may have been, followed the same basic doom metal formula. Leif has always had a fascination with dark fantasy imagery, and it always pervaded his writing themes, though on this album he tries to mix up the approach a bit more.

There are still classic fantasy themes expressed in songs such as Seven Silver Keys, Witches, and Assassin of the Light. But he also opens up a little with stranger stories such as in Born in a Tank and Copernicus.

But on to the approach I mentioned. Songs such as Assassin of the Light, Seven Silver Keys, and The Day and the Night are indicative of the band’s early career, utilizing a lot of very moody, dissonant riffs that are primarily made up of single-note melodies instead of chord progressions. However, the most notable difference is Messiah’s voice. He now uses the full range of his voice and adds a little snarl here and there where appropriate. He still uses his soaring vibrato wonderfully, but the emotional depth of his vocals has increased greatly in the intervening years.

However, these songs are not suggestive of the content of the entire album. After a brief atmospheric intro, the album launches into Black Dwarf, which has a stronger classic metal feel to it. Jan Lindh shows off a few Black Sabbath-esque fills to compliment the lumbering riffs, and Messiah frequently harmonizes with himself to create an eerie vibe.

Copernicus is one of the highlights among these unusual numbers. It starts out with similar riffs that you would expect, but much busier drumming. When the verse comes however, the bass and guitars become soft and distant the first time around. Messiah’s voice is also much softer, just a little above a whisper. The chorus is a return to the heavy form, but the verses with their plaintive, almost anxious gentleness building up in strength with each passage create an atmosphere that is really what doom metal is all about.

Copernicus is also the first of three epic-length tracks on the album. The second is Spellbreaker and the third is The Day and the Night.

Another nice touch of variety is an instrumental titled The Man Who Fell from the Sky placed half-way through the album. The riffs are classic Candlemass and the melodies very other-worldly and menacing.

Born in a Tank is another anomaly for Candlemass. It’s very Black Sabbath-esque, and seems to bridge the gap between the more classic style songs and the experimental ones. The chugging riffs threaten to drown out Messiah at times, giving a rather creepy vibe to the whole song.

As for the classic-sounding tracks, Assassin of the Light and Witches are the most indicative of Nightfall-era Candlemass. The riffs are very sinister, even evil-sounding and Messiah and the guitars often follow the same melody, giving an oppressing sound to the music that only really seems to work in Candlemass’s particular style.

Another of the highlight songs of the album is The Day and the Night. It opens with a drawn-out intro that’s only one guitar and Messiah’s vocals, creating an atmosphere of insomnia and sleepless anxiety. The melodies lumber like a sleepwalker drifting through the waking world in blindness. A harmonized interlude makes way to a queasy riff that provides the backdrop to a wah-drenched, gibbering solo. It fades out to Messiah’s moans, “I’m lost in the dark,” creating a wonderful parting for the album.

Overall, this is an album that does what a doom metal record is supposed to do: use moodiness and a strong atmospheric sense to create a feeling of oppression and depression as opposed to the approach many extreme metal bands take in which they try to bludgeon the listener with a wall of noise for heaviness.

Not that I dislike those sorts of bands, mind you. But one has to admire the elegance and tact it takes to create a doom metal album. And herein Candlemass have accomplished that. I don’t think I’d call it their best album, but it certainly is their most diverse yet, and perhaps their most impressive when you compare how far each of the individual members have come.



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user ratings (102)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
July 29th 2006



10176 Comments


I actually just saw this album advertised in a Nuclear Blast flyer today. Now that I saw this review I'll probably check it out.

Superb work as always.

Nepenthe
July 29th 2006



62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review Steer. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this cd was, I thought that they would never return to their original form. The Seven Silver Keys chorus is one of their finest achievements.

Jondur
July 31st 2006



92 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Must find point to criticise in review....... must be something wrong........

Nope can't find anything - good job!

metallicaman8
August 23rd 2006



4677 Comments


You must have put this out while I was away. Excellent work, I might look into this.

Steerpike
August 23rd 2006



1859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Listening to this album will dramatically boost your metalness.

metallicaman8
August 23rd 2006



4677 Comments


Yeah, I've been meaning to get into more newer metal. Most of the metal I listen came out in the eighties. Do you know of any website where I may be able to listen to this? I'm not blessed with ability to download.

Steerpike
August 23rd 2006



1859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You can probably find the video for Black Dwarf on YouTube.

Another thing you can do is go to the forums, find the doom metal thread and ask for someone to send you a sampler.

metallicaman8
August 23rd 2006



4677 Comments


Meh, I don\'t usually like to bother people with sending me things unless it\'s an emergency. I\'ll check youtube, though. Thanks Pikey.

EDIT: Okay, I went to youtube and found the video. It was great, although the lead singer is pretty weird and I didn't like his robe.This Message Edited On 08.23.06

Steerpike
August 23rd 2006



1859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's about time you were inducted into doom metal anyway. Healthy doses of Candlemass and Saint Vitus are a must for metalheads.

EDIT: Messiah's stage persona is that of a mad monk, hence the robe. He's always dressed like that on stage. He also does the Dance of Doom during instrumental breaks. Combine that with the music and the atmosphere of thei concerts (look up some live pcis of them) and it all makes sense.This Message Edited On 08.23.06

alurny
April 3rd 2007



22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review and much more representative of the album

Ovrot
May 5th 2011



10460 Comments


BLACK DWARF!!!!!!!!!

dun dun DUN nun

Digging: Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene

seedofnothing
December 7th 2011



3425 Comments


albums pretty boring

ValeriusNeverDies
December 7th 2011



162 Comments


wtf. where's the doom?

seedofnothing
December 7th 2011



3425 Comments


best track here is Witches

ValeriusNeverDies
December 7th 2011



162 Comments


better, but it's still lacking.

seedofnothing
December 7th 2011



3425 Comments


greatly lacking, I'm onto "Tales of Creation" right now, sounds much better so far

ValeriusNeverDies
December 7th 2011



162 Comments


listening to Saint Vitus debut. pretty badass guitar tone

seedofnothing
December 7th 2011



3425 Comments


Saint Vitus=m/

Born Too Late= m/ too

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2012



1840 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Uncompromisingly brutal and heavy beyond belief, Candlemass' self-titled effort marks one hell of a good comeback for the band. 'Black Dwarf' in particular makes me want to bang my head forevermore.

Shuyin
January 6th 2013



11106 Comments


great review

the vocals and riffs in this are such a killer m/

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars



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