All over the world, troops of fans of epic doom have been waiting many years for this moment, and finally, the wait is over. After almost seven years the historic Swedish band Candlemass has published their new album and since the moment it was announced many months ago, many clues made us presume the will of the band to claim a return to the origins. First of all the name of the LP: The Door to Doom, which brings to mind the first and unforgettable album of the band: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, an album so important in the history of this genre that even the name of “doom metal” is somehow linked to this publication. Secondly, the announced return of the original singer of the band, Johan Längqvist, who had participated in the recording of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus but soon after left the group. After 32 years, we find Längqvist back in the band’s line-up, and expectations of fans and critics were absolutely sky-high.
Beyond ambitions and expectations of the fans, however, it seems to me that The Door to Doom is substantially more a continuation of the path that Candlemass embarked in the last decade than a true return to the origins. And this is not necessarily a piece of bad news.
In the last few albums that were published by Candlemass I appreciated an interesting fusion between doom and psychedelic rock, which is fully confirmed in the new work. We’re light years away from the majesty and the occult charm of the band’s early records but, in this sense, The Door to Doom appears more genuine than it would have been if the band had forced a style of metal that today, after three decades of activity, evidently is no longer what they feel to play. Furthermore, Johan Längqvist’s voice fits very well with the current sound of the band and the singer’s performance in the new LP is certainly valid and intriguing.
The real problem, to be honest, is that leaving aside the discussions about how the new album is connected with the origins of the band, what many were expecting from The Door to Doom was a collection of engaging and memorable songs. The sound is intriguing, the performance of the musicians impeccable, the production crystal clear, but the riffs struggle to impress. And, in the end, this is quite a serious problem for an LP of epic doom metal.
The Door to Doom contains many elements of interest and, frankly speaking, you can’t imagine a legendary band like Candlemass to produce something flat of insignificant. For the diehard fans of epic doom, however, the LP flows away without leaving the mark that we expected.
My overall rating for the LP is 6.5/10. Favourite songs: Death’s Wheel, Astrolus – the Great Octopus, House of Doom and Black Trinity.