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Candles and Wraiths - Candelabia - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, January 14th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Eboncrown Records (Limited edition, Digipak)

This time it is not the third man arising from the Viennese catacombs but a highly talented young band playing a very epic and powerful brand of symphonic death/black metal. Having been formed in 2015 the three guys can look back at two single releases before they came around the corner with their full length debut called “Candelabia”. An epic journey with a lot of twists and turns is what potential listeners can expect and I have to say I am deeply impressed by the level of professionalism and enthusiasm that has been put into the creation of this album.

The trademark chords are complemented by superb drum work, well considered patterns that enhance the outstanding guitar work and a predominant rasping growl of a delivery that ascends to a blackened gurgling scream, both deliver with clarity the lyrical content, allowing you to follow the story line. While there are a lot of blast-beat sections and a good use of the cymbals the music never sounds too chaotic or disharmonic.

Candles and Wraiths did not just record an extreme metal album with a lot of technical prowess and put a few orchestral samples on top. While the fast and furious tremolo lines are in full force and often accompanied by heavy hitting blast-beats it feels as if the symphonic details have thoughtfully been implemented as important factor of each song. Sometimes those elements are used more subtly creating an eerie and melancholic atmosphere in the background while in other sections the three guys go fully overblown with all those elements being present in a more dominant manner.

What is the most important fact here is that Candles and Wraiths are really clever songwriters. The sequences of the various sections have been chosen in a way to make each track feel diversified yet stringent at the same time. There are classic verse-chorus parts but also extended soloing sections. Epic sounding samples are used as well as dramatic interludes or some choirs. In the end each song has its own character and looking at the album as a whole one really gets the feeling of a story that is told through the music. As the arrangements can get pretty complex I would recommend to consume the album in a way to not get distracted by something else during the first spin.

An album with so much going on asks for a well-balanced mix and I am glad to report that this exactly the case here. The production is powerful yet very transparent giving each instrument enough room to breathe without sacrificing any detail. Rounded off by a noble digipak “Candelabia” is an album that is easily worth adding to the collection.