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We Keep the Dark Alive - 70%

Twisted_Psychology, May 25th, 2018

The idea behind House of Doom is a rather bizarre one, as the EP is meant to be a soundtrack for a mobile game of the same name (Candlemass mobile phone game, now there’s a phrase I never expected to type). But at its core, Candlemass’s second EP is right in line with 2016’s Death thy Lover. Mats Leven has stuck around to sing over the polished epic doom that Leif Edling has been peddling since the mid-2000s.

While this EP’s overall genre is identical to its predecessor, the song styles cover much different territory. The title track and “Flowers of Deception” are largely upbeat tracks with a few dips into doom and a nice psychedelic tangent on the latter. From there, the acoustic balladry of “Fortuneteller” makes it the EP’s standout and “Dolls on a Wall” is a doomy instrumental closer.

But even with the twenty-minute runtime in mind, something feels missing on House of Doom. There’s no denying the solid musicianship and writing, but the songs have an almost assembly line feel to them. The hooks on the first two tracks aren’t as impactful as they could be, and while “Fortuneteller” makes for an excellent shakeup, it still seems like it could’ve been a bit longer.

With a new Candlemass full-length album on the horizon (So much for that retirement, right?), House of Doom ends up feeling more like a sampler of what is to come instead of its own entity. Death Thy Lover also had this problem to a similar extent but the songwriting there feels more complete in comparison. I imagine the eight songs between these two EP’s would make for a pretty good album with the right track order in place. Candlemass fans should enjoy the material here but I’m curious to see what these doom masters really have up their sleeves…

“House of Doom”

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