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Candlemass – King of the Grey Islands

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Last Updated on 06:23 PM by Lilliana Tseka

Genre: Epic Doom Metal
Country: Sweden
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year: 2007

Since the release of the amazing, though undervalued, Chapter VI (1992) Candlemass rolled on the downside: this album was not a success, despite the fact that it was the most logical continuation of the legendary masterpiece that preceded. The band dissolved in 1994 and the mastermind, bass player, main songwriter, in short the lifeblood of Candlemass, Leif Edling formed Abstrakt Algebra. The project didn’t go as planned. Edling reintroduces Candlemass and releases “Dactylis Glomerata” (1998), a record destined for the second release of Abstrakt Algebra, featuring new songs, as well. It was an unequal record. “From the 13th Sun” it came, it saw and it left. In 2002, Krux’s homonymous debut sees the daylight; a collaboration between the awesome Mats Leven and members of Entombed, a monolithic dynamite who established that the master was on top of his game. In the same year Candlemass reunited with the classic line up (Messiah Marcolin, Mats Bjorkmann, Lars Johansson, Leif Edling, Jan Lindh) and started touring. Three years later the record of the same name “Candlemass” came out. It was a good record but not worthy of its glorious past. The conflicts between Messiah and the rest of the band will put a definitive end (so far at least) in the classic line up. Therefore there was an urgent need for a worthy singer.

The calendar says 2007. Candlemass, after an audition, announce Messiah’s replacement. Robert Lowe, the Voice of “rival awe” from America, of Solitude Aeturnus, fills a void hard to fill (I remember Edling’s characteristic statement, in which he said that Lowe “killed all of its competitors”, which was probably reasonable if we reflect on his captivating interpretations in Solitude Aeturnus discography). He totally kill it and its proven by Candlemass’ ninth album “King of the Grey Islands” (2007). The band handled its production (with the assistance of Andy Sneap), adding a deep murky darkness to it and eight years later, we can say that it is a worthy continuation of the band’s legacy. Should I talk about the “Emperor of the Void”, “Of Stars and Smoke”, with their fantastic, epic, dark and sublime choruses, the “Man of Shadows”, the amazing “Destroyer” with its immersive riffs, Lars Johansson’s solo recital and the nihilistic atmosphere of the lyrics? “I am injected, with venom and your piss / My life is hatred, I spiral down the abyss / A mind on kill mode, expressionless face / Brain like a child, Fuck the human race”. In “Embracing the Styx” Candlemass borrow elements from Slayer as far as the riffs go, adjusting them well to their style. Least favorite moments are “Devil Seed” and “Demonia 6”, but the evil is small. Same thing applies to “Clearsight”, which was added just to fill a blank. “Edgar Gray” is somewhat interesting, a bonus track in the vinyl version of the record. The game is saved by Lowe’s excellent interpretation, whose passion is evident in every word. An objection could focus on the fact that “King…” was slightly below the classical period level, and that’s an allegation that has a basis. It is also a fact that Candlemass here pay attention more to their riffs rather than the melodies, without this meaning that there isn’t a remarkable guitar work. On the contrary. The above, in combination with the clear and voluminous production on one hand is designed to make the record easily accessible (as it is) to a crowd that goes further than the doom audience, but on the other side It designates a prosthesis for a small change in the direction and composition culture which remained the same throughout Robert Lowe’s period that followed until his retirement from Candlemass. However, the formula here is successful and yields the greatest.

Sometime after, I believe that the “King of the Grey Islands” was the album that put Candlemass again in a central position in the doom metal scene, especially in the extent of outside specialized audience’s awareness. I have to confess that at that live tour, the band seemed -and was- sufficiently refreshed and energetic on stage. This is the mainly proposed album to someone who wants a taste of Robert Lowe’s era. It’s a successful release, which I regularly visit. Not constantly, but regularly.

Рандолф Картер
Рандолф Картер
Καλησπέρα σας και συγχαρητήρια για την εκπομπή σας. Είναι τιμή για μένα να βρίσκομαι στο πλατό σας. Ήμουν πάντα εκεί. Απλώς δεν το ήξερα.

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