Candlemass. One can not mention the name of this iconic doom metal outfit from Sweden without provoking devotion from fans and respect from any honest critic in the genre. Sure, in this day and age there are thousands of bands to choose from, dozens of bands labeled as innovators and masters worthy of praise, but so very few come ever as close to deserving the sentiments that are sparked when mentioning Candlemass.
Although the community has grown far beyond the impact of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and cascading waves of Nightfall, circles of doom metal fans around the world are still very much alert to the beckoning call whenever new Candlemass is dropped.
Opening with the title track, Candlemass bursts from the tomb with a range of riffs and crooning howls that paint vivid pictures of night children and damnation. “House of Doom” operates on a mixture of mid-tempo and slow, heavy, pounding rhythms. Of course, what would Candlemass be without a good funeral dirge powered by the almighty organ?
Track two, “Flowers of Deception,” increases the doom dancing with flawless, forlorn melodies. This one will roll you right over and keep you down as it trods over and over again with pummeling doom metal. Candlemass are keepers of the sacred scrolls, masters of the arts, and heralds of the old school that must not be forgotten. Yes, I think I’ll take another.
“Fortuneteller” is a soulful acoustic ballad that assures the strength of vocalist Mats Levén. With so many different singers having put on their best in the role of Candlemass’ frontman, it’s an effort in futility to compare them all in the short space of an album review, but question not the value that Levén adds to this powerful lineup. Levén carries the song like a gifted bard.
The EP concludes with an instrumental called “Dolls On A Wall” which hangs on the axis of a few simple riffs that nourish the entire track with a full supply of headbanging energy. One should not leave this album without feeling a sore or two in the joints.
Perhaps more than anyone else with their equivalency of miles, Candlemass have consistently produced quality material in abundance. Boasting eleven albums (including some of the most important ever written in the genre), over a dozen EPs and splits, five live albums, and several DVDs, Candlemass do not quit and take their ethos quite seriously.
If Death Thy Lover (2016) and House of Doom leave anything to say about Candlemass, it is that they are still channeling potent energy and should have an excellent full-length record in the not-too-distant future. I anticipate there are more great things for Candlemass; may we be bewitched forever, my fellow doom dancers.