Rating:
7.5
Candlemass - Psalms For The Dead
6 June 2012


01. Prophet
02. The Sound Of Dying Demons
03. Dancing In The Temple Of The Mad Queen Bee
04. Waterwitch
05. The Lights Of Thebe
06. Psalms For The Dead
07. The Killing Of The Sun
08. Siren Song
09. Black As Time


It's always terrifying when a widely respected band that's seemingly been around forever announces it's final studio album.

But if this is, in fact, the 12th and final record from the Swedish doom metal legends, fans can comfortably know that the band went out with the Candlemass spirit very much alive and well.

Psalms For the Dead stacks up favorably with the band's much-loved first four albums (80-90 percent there). Although he lacks the grandiose, operatic bellow of Messiah, vocalist Robert Lowe (formerly of Solitude Aeternus) lends a little more grit and snarl to the classic Candlemass sound. And Leif Edling's riff-writing is still very much intact.

Although the tried and true heavy doom sound is mostly untouched, it benefits from some slight additions: the eerie glow of electric organ, the occasional baritone choir, and of course, Lowe's vocals. "Prophet" is a time-shifting monstrosity of a song, featuring twin guitars and a strong thrash presence. The title track is the most overtly melodic of the bunch (both from its chorus and its lead guitar line).

A war drum intro and a descending, sci-fi tinged organ figure are the standouts of "The Sound of Dying Demons," and "Waterwitch" has an intimate atmosphere that slowly builds.

A pleasant surprise for me was hearing Per Wiberg, fresh off a stint in Opeth, perform a guest keyboard solo on "Siren Song." The instrument has been quite underused lately, and it's nice to see its return to the forefront if only for one track.

"Black as Time" starts off with a Rod Serling-style monologue about the ravages of time--something we're all trying to get more of, but hardly ever do. For the time being, it's unlikely this Candlemass lineup will persist, as Mr. Lowe was out of the band at the time of this record's release. Maybe he'll rejoin Solitude Aeternus, a fine doom metal act in its own right.

If Psalms For the Dead is indeed the final Candlemass album (and I sure hope it isn't), the group can look with fondness back on a career that showed them truly making the best of the time that was given to them. And with all that beautiful, crushing doom metal on tape as a result (including the songs here), "black" seems a fitting way to describe it.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Candlemass
Album: Psalms For The Dead


 


written by Head of Metal | 22.01.2014


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Migtanteot - 23.01.2014 at 19:52  
Good Review!
I enjoyed this album as hell! Lowe does vocals pretty diferent from Solitude Aeturnus, more of Candlemass style. and Damned! it isn´t Nightfall but it´s really good.
If that´s true, they made the greatest epitaph of the band´s career.
Head of Metal - 25.01.2014 at 21:55  
Written by Migtanteot on 23.01.2014 at 19:52

Good Review!
I enjoyed this album as hell! Lowe does vocals pretty diferent from Solitude Aeturnus, more of Candlemass style. and Damned! it isn´t Nightfall but it´s really good.
If that´s true, they made the greatest epitaph of the band´s career.


Glad you enjoy it as well! They've taken hiatuses before, but at least they're sticking it out to play MDF this year. Only problem is who will sing for them now that Lowe is out...
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.01.2014 at 03:43  
Their worst album by far. A incredibly bleeding shame they should leave their career on their lowest of low points.
JohnDoe - 26.01.2014 at 08:20  
^ wow, so this one is bad too, Marcel?
I liked it a lot, I didn't find any problem with it.
Daniell - 26.01.2014 at 20:29  
The worst Candlemass album, no doubt. I can only remember one good song off it, "Waterwitch". The last track with its spoken parts is simply embarrassing.
M C Vice - 31.01.2014 at 09:58  
Written by Daniell on 26.01.2014 at 20:29

The worst Candlemass album, no doubt. I can only remember one good song off it, "Waterwitch". The last track with its spoken parts is simply embarrassing.

Yeah, I've never been able to figure out if it was a comedy part or not. I don't think this is comparable to any other Candlemass albums I've heard (haven't heard the one before the self titled one).

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