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MetalJoe, March 22nd, 2007

Wow, this has to be the heaviest Candlemass album to date. This is certainly my favorite album along with Nightfall. Although, this is completely different from Nightfall.
Maybe this s/t is slightly comparable to a few choice tracks off of Chapter IV, granted this production is superior and a far more consistent album on a whole. Having Messiah back in the fold makes all the difference in the world.

This is his finest vocal performance since Nightfall. What I mean is that he is singing more within the song. I have often thought to my self that he tends to over sing on "Ancient Dreams" and "Tales..". Too much vibrato, Messiah would often sound like he was trying out for the opera. I guess that is like saying to a lead guitar player, "you're playing too many notes". Too much wanking, if you will. Yes, you have the talent, but it doesn't quite fit the song.

Okay, saying all that, when Messiah is on his game he is the best. He hasn't necessarily toned down on this album, all the energy is still there, rather he sounds much more pissed-off and aggressive. Listen to Witches and it sounds like he never has in the past, and it sounds fucking great.

These songs are all fucking heavy. Maybe Lief's side project band Krux rubbed off a little. The opening riff in "Copernicus", is a skull crusher. It goes from the heaviest shit you can imagine, to a softer passage, back into the heaviness. Brilliantly executed. Just a fucking fantastic song. "Black Dwarf "has that "Symptom of the Universe" pulse to it. Along with "Born in a Tank" are the only real Sabbath vibe songs here. It is still total Candlemass though, not like the Sabbath worship found on "From the 13th Sun". All the tracks are good on this album, except the instrumental I could pass on. "Seven Silver Keys" is the most reminiscent of the past. Messiah singing like the glory days in this melodic number. Probably the most melodic song on the album. Nice use of atmosphere with the keyboard.

The keyboard wasn't really introduced into Candlemass until Chapter IV. More or less used as a backdrop. Had Messiah sang on Chapter IV I think it would've been much better. Not to knock on the previous singers, but Candlemass seemed to fade into oblivion after he left. Well, at least for me. Its too bad Messiah left the band again. No one was able to fill his shoes in the past, and it looks like they shouldn't make that mistake again. I look forward to hearing them team up with the powerful voice from Solitude Aeternus.

Well, at least they'll go out on a high note with this classic lineup. The last word has already been written about this album a thousand times, but I don't care. If you got this far then maybe you're interested in seeking out this album. I hope to one day see this revered with the classics. If you're unfamiliar with this band, then you can do no wrong with starting here. Try and find the Digipack with the bonus track on it. After that buy Nightfall and Epicus, then thank me later and buy me a beer.