I am pretty familiar with the great Candlemass album 2009’s Death Magic Doom and part of this was the fantastic vocals of Robert Lowe. Having lost touch with Swedish doomsters after this record, I was unaware that they now have singer Mats Levén on board…
I was expecting more epic sounding doom from the band, with exceptional vocals, but no, this EP hits below such watermark releases, with the vocals of Levén a real disappointment. It is like going from driving a Ferrari to wheeling along in my old VW Polo – the consistency is there, but the real excitement isn’t!
The fun starts with the title track, a ball of fury pent up and wrapped in a sheet of bleeding guitars. The riffs come thick and fast and then the singing starts and the mix hasn’t helped promote the vocals. The rest of the production is hotter than coals from the bowels of the earth, but the vocals are too low in the mix. Still like this track and the multi-tracked guitars are clear and interesting. The soft breakdown suits the vocals better, but they still don’t have the same power and resonance that Lowe‘s did.
“Sleeping Giant” owes a huge debt to Celtic Frost and I hear some Dio with Levén‘s singing. The riffing is strong and I really like the Sabbath overtones. It would not be a stretch to say that this tune would sit comfortably on Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules. The solos are great slabs of distortion with some fantastic harmony parts.
My favourite of the four tracks is “Sinister and Sweet“, which is ripped again from the scholarly book of Dio-era Black Sabbath. The guitar work is exceptional with a Tony Iommi tone and a real undercurrent of menace. The acoustic interludes make this a great atmospheric rocker
The doomster dimension is revisited for end track “The Goose” (about what, I have no idea). The atmosphere and heaviness is there, but it does seem rather meandering rather than a cut throat close out.
General feeling is one of disappointment; it is still classy stuff, just not as classy as earlier epics…