The Godfathers of Doom Metal, Candlemass, have brought fourth their eleventh, and reported final, studio album ever. Candlemass set the precedent for Doom Metal with their 1986 classic Epicus Doomicus Metalicus. Now, 26 years later, the time has come for them to say farewell to all their devoted fans. Speaking of time, that is the main subject of the new album Psalms For The Dead. According to the band the theme of the album “is about the presence and absence of time. It’s about leaving, goodbyes, and farewells.” Ironically appropriate, considering this is their concluding effort.
Candlemass put all their cards on the table for Psalms For The Dead, it contains extremely profound amounts of the most brutal fusion of Doom and Melody. There are so many musical themes reminiscent of early 70’s British Hard Rock bands like Uriah Heep, U.F.O., Deep Purple, and of course Black Sabbath. One track in particular, “Siren Song” has such an incredibly heavy dose of the Hammond Organ, the track could easily have been on a Heep album from 1972.
American vocalist Robert Lowe is once again at the helm for his third studio release with the band. Unfortunately the band announced that Lowe is no longer the singer for Candlemass, just six days before the album’s release. However, his performance on this album is so much more emphatic and passionate than the previous two releases. Lowe single handedly revived this band and gave it new life with his exciting vocals and was able to provide much more vibrancy to the music than his predecessors. Arguably his best performance on Psalms For The Dead is the track “Waterwitch.” This is a slower, more Classic Doom style track and Lowe performs many sinister and theatrical vocals which gives the track an amazing emotional element that is simply magnificent.
Of course, no Candlemass album would be complete without the signature twin guitar wailings of Lars Johansson and Mats Bjorkman. Although, there are many areas of this album where the music is slightly more melodic than previous works, Johansson and Bjorkman put in a flawless and precise effort. Additionally, many of the lead solos by Johansson are extremely passionate and pleasing. This is especially true during the fiery opening track “Prophet” which is simply an old school head banging early Thrash style song. Johansson sounds fresh and inspiring throughout the entire song and sets a fervent tone for the entire album.
Psalms For The Dead is one of those albums which does not become tiresome; it gets increasingly heavier with each listen. There are so many classic essentials which have been formulated together; this could arguably be their finest release ever. It is superb on all levels, and even fans who have never listened to a Candlemass record before will pick this up and be blown away.
Official Candlemass Website