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Good but not great - 75%

dipym666, October 20th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Napalm Records

The pioneers of doom metal released this a while back and it is supposed to be their last studio album. After this they will officially split up taking a well deserved retirement after 30 years on the road. 30 years! Wow! But as we all know it is very hard to get a fix on “last albums” as far great musicians are concerned. Somehow they have the tendency to pop up again in the near future. Anyway, that’s another matter.

Psalms of the dead continues Candlemass’ traditional formula of doom metal. Anyone familiar with their old discography would notice that straightaway. Why fix something if it ain’t broke? But having said that, the album sometimes feels a little drawn out. Starting out with the opener; ‘Prophet’, probably the best song on the album races off to a fast start. The band continuously slows down things to a doomy crawl in the ‘Sound of Dying Demons’ and ‘Water Witch’. But then again they inject some speed accompanied by their trademark epic doom style in songs like ‘Dancing in the Temple’, ‘Siren Song’, ‘The Lights of the Thebe’ and ‘Psalms for the Dead’. Another feature that doesn’t go unnoticed are similarities to Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ in the intro drum part of ‘The Sound of Dying Demons’ and, the riffs in ‘The Killing of the Sun’. It must be a tribute to Sabbath, right? Another two traits in the album are in the form of tasty wah wah solos in ‘Psalms for the Dead’ and ‘Black as Time’ and a heavy organ usage in almost all the songs (looks like some Deep Purple has crept in!!).

Summarizing, the only gripe that I have is that the slow songs seem a little stretched. Other than that, it’s the same old offering from Candlemass. Note that it took me quite a few listens to get a hold of the pattern. For Candlemass fans you know what to expect. Not great, but a very good doom metal album.