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A Doll On A Wall - 63%

Larry6990, January 12th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Napalm Records

A peculiar anomaly in the otherwise towering discography of Candlemass, House Of Doom is supposed to be the soundtrack for a mobile game. Yeah, that's right: the Candlemass Mobile Game… Although I’m not sure how the music would fare in its intended purpose, it didn’t take long to form an opinion of this as a regular EP. For a while, the doom metal veterans were teetering on the brink of retirement, but fans now have a whole new full-length record to look forward to in 2019! What a turnaround! In the meantime, following on from 2016’s Death Thy Lover, we have this 4-track slice of doom metal courtesy of Edling and co.

Musically, this is absolutely nothing special, and exactly what we’d expect from Candlemass. However, whilst this would normally warrant zero complaints from myself, I confess to feeling that there’s something missing. Some unidentifiable X factor that usually gives the Swedes their spark is sorely absent. Sure, the chromatic riffs are there, the lumbering tempos, the mournful melodies… but one is left feeling strangely unsatisfied by House Of Doom. One thing I can put my finger on is the voice of Mats Leven. He’s not bad, but he possesses none of the charisma of Messiah nor the sweet menace of Robert Lowe. I am quite pleased to hear we’ll have a 'new' vocalist for the upcoming full-length.

The production quality is a teensy bit muddy here, but that doesn’t affect the overall enjoyment too much. What does surprise is the vibrant tempos at which the two main tracks take off. Both the title-track and “Flowers Of Deception” take on a “Children Of The Grave” vibe which makes for fun headbanging, but is lacking in the hulking heaviness that ‘Mass are capable of providing. “Fortune Teller” is a nice change of pace and atmosphere, but comes across as more of a folk ballad and doesn’t go anywhere structurally. “Dolls On A Wall” has the great doom-laden riffage that we crave, but ends far too soon. A mixed bag from the doom legends this time around, but I’m putting all my money on the upcoming Door To Doom being an absolute slammer. Word has it a certain Johan-something is returning…?