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The forlorn are reborn - 88%

Gutterscream, November 3rd, 2006
Written based on this version: 1988, 12" vinyl, Music for Nations

“…proud of his art is the carpenter, his creation a tool for my doom…”

For hooked Candlemass fans, it probably didn't seem like there’s much going on here, what with top dog “At the Gallows End” lifted from the already existing Nightfall lp and two of the shorter tracks from Epicus Doomicus Metallicus by now three years past, but if you were teary-eyed for the band by this point, you’d be aware it’s Messiah and his dramaturgic tones that’s ensorcelling the old stalwarts. Well, it made it worth a listen anyway.

I don’t know. I’ve always thought this and its sister disc, the Samarithan single/ep, should’ve predated the enigmatic Nightfall, and, to me anyway, the obvious reason is purely for introduction. The cover sticker announces that the pair of churners from EDM have been “re-recorded especially to add the heavy touch of vocalist Messiah Marcolin” (spelled Maroolin – betcha he was happy). My plan would’ve been an alternate sticker, larger than the existing 3x2” one, and arcing across it in a boldly big feudal-style font would be something like “The Messiah has Arisen!”. Then top it off with a complimentary blurb about his Mercy heritage and maybe, and I mean maybe, a live shot of the guy decked out in his lofty yet understated monk’s attire, rope belt and all, at the center of a full-bore, jaw-wide wail, perhaps clutching some sort of gothic trinket…yeah I know, very eighties. Well if the shoe fits, and this guy hefted his big butt right into the role without hesitation. In fact, word has it Eddie called Leif upon hearing about the band’s vocal witch hunt, proclaiming (I like to imagine he sung it into the receiver, which is in fact what happened) that the search was indeed over, and before the bassist was barely off the phone the mad monk was driving over not to audition, but to stride in as savior. With this forerunner reasoning, while the faves from the debut are reinvented for old fans, unreleased doozy “At the Gallows End” would’ve thrown awareness over the edge with the bulging chorus alone making it worthy the $5.49 I dished out for it. Same would’ve gone for the Samarithan effort, which other than the title track featured the same playlist.

But in the real world this saw daylight about eight months after Nightfall. Kind of anticlimactic, but hearing the lyrics of “Solitude” and “Crystal Ball” traipse across their doom landscape in nobles’ clothing is cool enough for the price of admission, though in the end, the tribulation that crawls through the original works wins out with Lanquist’s imperfect descants being actually more precise for the cause. Then again, I’m sure there’re people who feel the opposite.

Apparently the momentous “Battlecry” was worthy of neither disc. I still can’t figure that out.

“…I have seen it all, dreamt away through the crystal ball…”