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Let’s be serious here, folks – by 1992 Candlemass, with the defection of two tremendously talented singers, had changed drastically. Sure, Leif was still there as he’s always been, but this was a different Candlemass. In strictly “Candlemass terms” Chapter VI is a strange disappointment. However, if you forget about what Candlemass is supposed to sound like you’ll find an all-too-neglected little slice of solid power doom.
Brought in for the unenviable job of following a legend was Mr. Thomas Vikstrom, a rather unknown back then. As it turns out, Vikstrom has a great voice and is technically rock-solid. The only problem is, the man is much more geared towards power metal than doom (check out his great work on the latest Stowmwind disc), something Leif apparently understood since some of the material on Chapter VI leans heavily toward the power side of “power doom”. Regardless, Vikstrom will always be known as the guy who replaced Messiah for one album, and he actually did a damn fine job.
I’ll skip a track-by-track analysis since ErikG already has that covered below, but I do have to mention a couple of numbers. The second track, titled “Julie Laughs No More”, is the best example of the “not Candlemass” material. Speed it up a bit more and you’d have something that could slide right into a Stratovarius album. Again, not traditional Candlemass, but it’s still a good song. The real winner, though, is “Where the Runes Still Speak”. Seriously, this thing just crushes everything in its path like an out-of-control cement truck. Easily a candidate for the best thing Candlemass ever recorded, the song contains a mindblowing performance from Vikstrom. Even if you’ve heard some of the other songs on here and hated them, give this one a try. It’s that good, just about worth the price of the CD by itself.
Otherwise things are ship-shape, really. Production’s in line with their past works, and Edling still has it in terms of writing and riff playing. The bass and drums are about as expected, meaning solid but unspectacular. Candlemass have quite a history, and their post-1989 stuff often times is wholly dismissed as not being worthy of the band’s name. That may be so for some of the later albums, but give Chapter VI a try before forgetting it. It’s not Nightfall by any stretch, but for what it is – that being old Candlemass fused with some power metal – it’s very good.