Candlemass – “House of Doom”

Image source: Candlemass via Facebook

The fathers of epic doom metal, Candlemass, have once again blessed our eardrums with the ferocious sound of their new four-track EP House of Doom. The band, who defined the Swedish rock scene during the 1980s, have brought the life into death once more with their heavy yet soulful signature sound. The EP is Candlemass’ first release since their album Death Thy Lover in 2016

House of Doom blends the innovative passion of the band’s early experimental songs with the more popular classic heavy metal. Bassist Leif Edling, one of the band’s founders and the only consistent member in their 34-year reign, wrote all four tracks. Though the band is infamous for its member reshuffles, House of Doom features its 2012 line-up with fellow band founder Mats “Mappe” Björkman on rhythm guitar, Lars Johansson on lead guitar, Jan Lindh on drums and Mats Leven on vocals. 

The EP was, in fact, written to accompany a licensed online casino game based on the band’s music and motifs. Described as an immersive music experience, and available on online casinos such as Rizk, which is reviewed on this website, the game sees players follow Candlemass in entering the battle between heaven and hell – an epic horror affair full of doom… and metal. 

Listening to the EP this gamelike journey is evident. We embark on a twisted fairytale taking place within the hell of your nightmares. The title track opens with the sound of church bells and uses clashing melodies of electric guitar and church organs to set the scene of a wedding gone fatally wrong. The song then launches into an epic solo of chaos, as if you are being physically dragged into the House of Doom itself.

The next track, Flowers of Deception, demonstrates the depth and richness of Mats Levin’s vocals using complex melodic and rhythmic changes that take the listener on a journey through Candlemass’s full soundscape. Fortune Teller takes on an almost doom country blues style using acoustic guitar and an eerily soft melody, providing a palate cleanser from the more intense songs. The final track, Dolls on a Wall is an intense instrumental power trip that nicely bookends the EP by bringing the listener back to Candlemass’s signature volatile riffs. 

The band recently announced the return of Johan Langquist in 2018, the lead vocalist from the band’s original album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, one of the albums credited for inspiring the term “doom metal”. As the band stated on Facebook, their goal with this release was “to find our way back to the roots of Candlemass, back to the soul and essence of the band.” Mentioning the return of Johan Langquist, they talked about kickstarting “the heart of doom” once again. “The circle is closed, Johan is back!”, they concluded

While House of Doom is testament to the great work the band has done in the past six years, Langquist will hopefully bring something new to the table that is consistent with the heart of Candlemass’s origins.

Candlemass are currently recording a new album due to be released in 2019. 

Image source: Candlemass via Facebook

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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