Candlemass are one of the most important names in Doom Metal. Along with Saint Vitus, Trouble, and The Obsessed they all helped create a form of music that was heavily influenced by the forefathers of Doom and Gloom: Black Sabbath! From their 1986 debut classic ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ to the 2018 ep ‘The House of Doom’ Candlemass have been one of the hardest working and most consistent bands in the Metal scene. However, with the upcoming release of ‘The Door to Doom’ (available February 22nd via Napalm Records) the band have managed to top past glories and have (arguably) released the best album of their long career!
Album opener “Splendor Demon Majesty” harkens back to familiar territory with it’s huge power chords and bombastic rhythm section. Also featured during the bridges are quick but catchy guitar melodies that are reminiscent of early Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. “Under the Ocean” features a formula of switching between beautiful acoustic bits and sinister doom! The next song starts quietly with the beating of war drums, as they grow louder you know you are in for something special: “ASTOROLUS – THE GREAT OCTOPUS” is indeed a special track. We are treated with a song that could have easily fit on early Candlemass albums, with it’s gargantuan riffs, plodding drums and bass and soaring vocals from original Candlemass vocalist Johan Langquist! Also of note is the fact that this songs features a truly inspired guitar solo from the master of reality himself: Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath! This is the highlight of ‘The Door to Doom’ and will surely become a staple of the bands live set! “Bridge of the Blind” is the next track. This is the bands first ballad and it’s actually done quite well. It features some beautiful guitar work that’s perfectly complimented by haunting lyrics from Johan as he asks “What would I find, if I opened my eyes? Will You be waiting on other side? “Black Trinity” brings us back to the doom with a traditional slow plodding piece with killer riffs and which also features a rather interesting break at the 4 minute mark that gives the drums some room to play around! “House of Doom” is an odd choice to include on ‘The Door to Doom.’ For those not familiar, this was the single from the bands previous EP of the same name. The song itself is fantastic with it’s church bell opening (another homage to Sabbath) chugging guitar riffs and anthemic chorus. Personally, I just feel that it’s a bit of a disservice to previous Candlemass vocalist Mats Levén who absolutely nailed the track the first time around! “The Omega Circle” closes the album which was a great sequencing choice as it feels like a greatest hits of sorts of iconic Candlemass tracks. From the opening bit you’re already reminded of “Solitude” from the debut. As the track proceeds you also get vibes of “Tales of Creation” and “King of the Grey Islands.” The chorus of this song is also the most memorable, catchy and surprisingly upbeat of any song Candlemass has done!
With the return of original vocalist Johan Langquist after 30 plus years, Candlemass had a lot to prove with ‘The Door to Doom.’ Luckily, they didn’t disappoint, in fact I can safely say that this album is one of the most crucial Doom Metal albums we have had in years!