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Many fans of the classic Messiah era will be deeply disappointed. The only surviving member of the old good times is Leif Edling, the music direction is more psychedelic doom (with no epic doom elements), the new singer is completely different to Messiah (he sounds like a successful clone of Ozzy), the new guitarist has an experimental (though still doom to the core) style that has no relation to Mappe's classic riffs and Lars' thunderous solos, the production is rather "modern" featuring FX and atmospheric parts and the overall impression is that only the name remained and we have in fact a diferent group using the same moniker.
However, Leif respects the legend of this group better than any other. He didn't use crap in order to exploit the name of the band, but top material as always. He wanted to pay a tribute to his most beloved group of the past Black Sabbath with an album which have the most influences derived from the classic BS stuff. He also hired a vocalist that he sounds like the twin brother of Ozzy with a rather electric, atmospheric (and a bit stoned) voice.
When I first heard this record I supposed that it was something like Black Sabbath rip off, with a bit more depressive mood. Indeed, "Tot" for example have the same structure as "Black Sabbath": Bell's tolls and the sounds of the rain as an indroduction, slow-tempo horror-like singing at the middle and it ends with a monstrous guitar explosion. There were times that I wondered if I was listening to Candlemass, or Black Sabbath's debut or Vol. 4, with some more modern sound. But after listening to it more than two times, I started to recognise also the space rock influences that made this album so psychedelic. Sometimes the Hawkwind-Sabbath combination makes this album sound more stoner than doom.
Any novelty? The lyrics! They are so psychedelic and mad that if you read them, without listening to the music you may think that they are pessimistic nonsense. But they fit the album's mood, a total confusion both musically and lyrically, that creates an unique atmosphere, a very dangerous experimentation that only mr. Edling could make under a legendary name without being humiliated by the result.
In conclusion, this is the album that Black Sabbath sould have released after their reunion, but they never did it. But it doesn't matter. Their tradition is being continued even under the name Candlemass!