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Their Best Album to Date - 90%

sknight, May 1st, 2007

I'll keep it concise to keep the expectation high. At the same time, I will state a few things that will add to the curiosity.

First, I've liked Candlemass in the past, but nothing more than getting the albums and throwing them around for an occasional spin. The songs, including the classics, would get a bit boring after a while. I have all of their albums, but can't listen to them for too long at a stretch at the risk of never listening to them again.

I acquired an advance of King of the Grey Islands. At this point, I know little more about Robert Lowe, their new vocalist from Solitude Aeturnus, than a few casual listens of the SA albums. I didn't know what to expect and if he could fit in Messiah's role. From the outset, Leif Edling appears to have done a thorough freshening of the Candlemass sound and direction, Lowe being an integral part of it. His voice and singing style offers more diversity to fit into (finally!) more varied music than they have done in the past. Several days ago Marcolin commented that he wanted to retain "a more traditional" direction for the Candlemass sound, while the band wanted to progress. Luckily, the band won the vote.

The music is finally more dynamic and changes tempo a more than I can remember. It's heavy, drums are real heavy, the songs are not monotoned, and they are exhibiting fine musicianship they rarely did in the past. Some have mentioned that their musical direction is a bit like Edling's other band, Krux, whom I have not yet heard. Some might be scared off thinking without Messiah and a different direction they won't be Candlemass. Don't worry. They sound like Candlemass, but with a freshened sound, through which they are likely to realize more creative satisfaction while distancing themselves from the safe, "sterile" sound of their self-titled 2006 album. By comparison, the highest rating I would have given any other Candlemass album is in the sixties.

Candlemass seems to be experimenting more, added more ambience, stepped up the vocals from a safe, straightforward direction, and could perhaps redefine modern "traditional" doom metal, while keeping it very heavy. I don't feel Marcolin would fit in with this album. Not only was his singing style somewhat restrictive for the music it would be mated to, he seems to have been creatively restrictive. Lowe appears to have brought new life to this 25 year old band and allowed Edling to persue a fresher direction in doom metal and helped produce the best album in Candlemass' history.

I have had "Demonia 6" playing in my car for the last two days straight.