CANDLEMASS – PSALMS FOR THE DEAD
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: June 8th, 2012
With the start of yet another month of pure Metal taking us on a roller coaster ride, it is time we bid farewell to one of the greats, who steered this ride, and touched our hearts with their music. Sweden’s Candlemass, the Black Sabbath of Doom Metal, have now released their final studio album Psalms for the Dead, waving their fans a final goodbye, but, in style! This album is a perfect example of how a band should end their career in the studio. From sheer evil and diabolic riffage too some face melting solos, the album has it all!
The opening track, “Prophet” was a great start to the album with the typical elements of doom embedded in it. This makes you crave some more and as you move to the next track, you will be greeted with a tweak of a surprise with “Dancing in the Temple of the Mad Queen Bee”. This song seemed to deviate slightly from their heavy, slow and haunting sound to more of a slow power metal inclination. This song puts you right into the mood for more of Candlemass, with three blistering solos.
Noticeably, almost every song treats you with some diverse solos by guitarist Lars Johansson. Keyboardist Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth) has added his own spices to this well cooked piece of art with a beautiful solo in the “Siren Song”.
Every track on the album has a different feel to it. Like, “Killing of the Sun” gives you a total Black Sabbath vibe. Not to forget,founder and principal songwriter Leif Edling has done a fabulous job on the bass with some hot and heavy portions in “Black As Time”. I certainly expected some acoustic guitar magic like that of the most well-known song of the band, “Solitude”, from their first album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, but setting that apart, this album seems flawless, and yet another, masterpiece!
To choose the three best tracks from the album, I’d say my number one choice would be “The Lights of Thebe”, because in this one, although the band maintains their doom image, it takes a different turn with some lovely symphony moments and a sweet guitar solo with an oriental feel to it. At second place would be, “Dancing in the Temple” because of the downpour of three solos and the slight deviation from the typical sound they usually play. Lastly, I’d choose the track “Psalms for the Dead”, the title track, because of the very impressive strong structure! Holy mother of dark desires, I can’t get out of my head the way this track is composed. It’s absolutely stunning, not to mention vocalist Robert Lowe’s performance, which is rather more personal in this song. The dual solo is well fitted with some commendable transitions and an outro that will surely leave you in a trance, at the end.
I always felt as long as Candlemass exists, epicness will also exist in doom metal. Without much ado, I’ll conclude by saying that this album was sick enough to be called legendary and is a perfect full stop as they fade away from the limelight, leaving their legacy behind. For me, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Nightfall and now Psalms for the Dead stand at the top of my list of best doom metal albums ever made, and Candlemass will remain for a long time one of the biggest influences for this genre. Even though the sub-division of this doom metal style does not have many bands that would make it proud, Candlemass is plenty enough, and this album shows it why.
“We are sorry to inform you that Robert Lowe is no longer the singer for Candlemass. It has been a very difficult decision for the band and has mainly to do with the quality of the live performances. For the upcoming shows Robert will be replaced with Mats Levén, longtime friend of the band. We are convinced this will work out just great. The band is currently rehearsing new and old songs with Mats and we know that nobody attending the gigs at Debaser Slussen, Metaltown, Borås or Southern Discomfort will be disappointed. Bring you earplugs….it will be hard, massive and loud! Keyboard player Per Wiberg is also joining Candlemass onstage for the live shows. PSALMS FOR THE DEAD…..NOTHING ELSE REMAINS!”
Buy the album, irrespective of what sub-genre of metal you prefer because this album is the pinnacle of sheer mastery. SALUTES \m/