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Candlemass - King of the Grey Islands - 70%

cyan_angel, July 26th, 2007

These lines aren’t intended to serve any other purpose than just expressing my opinion about an album that i had the chance to listen to.

First of all, i have to say that i found nothing wrong with Marcolin’s vocal performance, or at least nothing that would have imposed him being cast out of the band. Their previous album was kind of redundant and self-sufficient, but in the end it turned out decent enough. That probably has to be the actual reason for the band’s decision to get a new vocalist. And so they did: King of the Grey Islands is the first release of the new Candlemass.

Now for the album itself. The first thing that came in my mind when i heard this was the fact that their music is still heavy, reminding of the self-titled album. The musicianship remains good and solid throughout the whole 53 minutes, but i have to note that it is somewhat reminiscent of the 2005 work. As for the vocals, they are a strong point of this effort, as Lowe does a good job, his voice simply merges perfectly with the lyrics and the instrumental part to form a whole.

Emperor of the Void is a masterpiece, clearly the best song in here, resuming very well what the band tried to do: heavy and dark doom metal, with deep and reflection-inducing lyrics. The riffs are cool and catchy and Robert Lowe’s vocal performance is outstanding. The next track, Devil Seed, is also good, though weaker than the second one. The other songs are all decent, but nothing remarcable, except Clearsight, the second best out there. The instrumental intro leads to the searing vocals, which i dare to say are quite different from the second track, haunting the listener by actually being lighter, cleaner, but just as good.

Now, the things i don’t like. The music can get a bit monotonous at times, as there seems to be an almost invisible pattern that the band tends to follow. Demonia 6 is the weakest track, as i can’t find anything in it to draw my attention. It’s quite boring, and not even Lowe can save this one. Simply a filler. The instrumental is actually forgetable, too short and it just doesn’t have any elements that would have made it noticeable. And i have to say that beside the vocal performance, which is certainly an improvement, the rest of it doesn’t seem like progress to me. It’s just the same Candlemass we know and love/hate (it is actually one of my favorite metal bands) with better vocals (sorry, Marcolin, but it’s the truth!).

Finally, the two bonus tracks seem to me useless and very weak. Marcolin did do, at the time being, a good job with those two songs, especially Solitude, which i dare to say is classic Candlemass. I don’t see the point of re-recording something that is already done as good as it could have ever been done just for the sake of having Lowe’s performance replace the old vocals, as the aforementioned tracks belong to a closed chapter in the band’s history. He’s very good, i can’t deny that, but his voice just doesn’t match those songs, let’s leave it to that.

To sum it all up, a good album, but not excellent. If you like Candlemass and want a doom metal album worth the money, buy this one!