It’s a wonder that the sonic scope packed into the newest full-length release from Candlemass fits into a single album. The long-active Swedes play a massive, immersive brand of doom metal that lets striking, melodic riffage drive in exchange for gripping length and a nearly inescapable musical current of unease on their newest album, the aptly titled The Door To Doom, out February 22 via Napalm Records.
The band have made some of doom’s more inaccessible qualities into something more palatable for a broader metal audience while not losing the core, unsettling spirit of their work. The album takes a definitively narrative-driven path, thanks in part to the hopscotching lyrics that move between tales of a ghastly underworld and takes on our place in it, and also because the vocal work flows cleanly and is, quite simply, very comprehensible and understandable. Rather than the metal music itself taking the solo lead in knocking listeners off their feet and into a pit of misery, vocalist Johan Langquist lets his sonically massive vocal work take the listener down into the pits the band have in store as well. Notably, Langquist took a definitely noteworthy path to singing on The Door To Doom, having first fronted Candlemass all the way back in 1986 for their debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus before moving onto other things — until now. His return underscores just what a straightforward, and even classic feel The Door To Doom maintains. There’s little escape from the sheer sonic intensity and hugeness of these tracks.
On that note, The Door To Doom feels like it illuminates just how big that miserable doom metal can be — which in this case, just to be clear, is a compliment. There’s a standout, comparatively brief track that is musically reserved and relays a very personal tale of being stuck at a crossroad between life and death — perhaps like one might encounter as they get older — but overall, the band deal in demons, hell, and the cascade of those entities into our familiar realms. There’s a certain escapist quality inherent in the work, truly embracing the part of the process where the darkness itself becomes engaging. It seems difficult for an extreme metal fan to not enjoy The Door To Doom.
Listen below via Bandcamp