REVIEW: CANDLEMASS – “Death Thy Lover” [EP]
Doom metal legends Candlemass are celebrating the band’s thirtieth anniversary with the release of their new EP ‘Death Thy Lover’. Three decades ago, doom metal touched new standards with Candlemass’ most precious offering ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ with which the band achieved a new milestone. Candlemass further added many memorable chapters to their glorious story. The fact that they have been making music for thirty years now speaks volumes of their staying power. ‘Death Thy Lover’ is a four-song EP and the band’s first release with their new permanent vocalist Mats Leven.
The new EP showcases some classic elements like a few trademark riffs, memorable solos and interludes. However, this new release is quite different from the signature Candlemass style because it introduces a good deal of fresh elements due to which the epic Candlemass essence goes missing somewhere. Nevertheless, the brilliant guitar solos come to the rescue and the pondering edge that prevails over the twenty-six minute long record makes it a good listen. Vocalist Mats Leven does a great job and adds beautifully to the proud legacy of the band with the operatic and theatrical essence which is pretty much a driving force in the overall sound.
The opening track “Death Thy Lover” is quite up-tempo and showcases some great riffs and a catchy chorus, rhythms and melodies. A classic rock approach laced around Candlemass’ typical expression of doom is prominent in the song, thus exploring new musical territories around the crux of a significant melancholic essence. The next track “Sleeping Giant” entwines around vivid imagery invoked mostly by Mats Leven’s dark and sinister vocals. The song is thematically strong and tells the story of sleeping statues within a decaying temple. “Sleeping Giant” establishes a confident statement with a significant heavy metal approach. It’s filled with brutal, doomy riffs and the groovy feel that adds massive vitality to this track. Following this is “Sinister ‘n’ Sweet” which showcases both aggressive and melancholic aspects with quite a cinematic approach. The song puts forth some brilliant solos and well-thought out build-ups and laid back interludes, thus establishing a nice thought process amidst the versatility. The album-closer “The Goose” is a mesmerizing instrumental track with trademark Candlemass elements demonstrating the band’s musical prowess.
Overall, the EP is a good listen and a fitting celebration of a three decade long musical odyssey. The songs are technically sound, which aspect is upheld by the production. However, there seems to be over-emphasis on technique at places which takes away from the classic Candlemass sound expression cherished by doom enthusiasts.