Leif Edling has been a very busy chap recently. As Candlemass fans hope for new material other than just an EP from the new Leven-fronted Candlemass Mk XVIII (or something like…), Edling has busied himself with Avatarium – culminating in the excellent full-length album “The Girl With The Raven Mask” this time last year – and now there’s The Doomsday Kingdom. I must confess when I first heard about the project earlier this year I was less than enthusiastic (“Leif Edling plays everything and sings too” hmmm…). But now there’s a full line-up in place it’s a different matter.
Anders Johansson on drums already had me interested as he rarely gives his time to anything under par, but intriguingly I don’t think he’s ever done any project Doom-related (that’s Doom the genre not the projects outcome…). Guitarist Marcus Jidell has already proved himself in Avatarium, but the addition of Wolf vocalist Niklas Stalvind was always going to give this band something to set it aside from Edling’s other projects. And it does…
I was expecting “Wolf gone Doom” and to a certain extent Doomwolf is a reality (ironically, and much to my amazement, a quick search on google tells me there has never actually been a Metal band called Doomwolf!), but that’s really because Stalvind’s voice is so distinctive and synonymous with Wolf. It’s not “Candlemass with that bloke from Wolf” either, as there is a retro-ness to the sound that Candlemass have gradually lost whilst others have since captured. It’s a return to basics for Edling if anything – there’s a feeling that this was his vision for Candlemass pre-Marcolin…but in retrospect if that makes sense? It doesn’t does it – err…basically, if Edling could go back in time and re-give birth to Candlemass I think this is what it would sound like!
There’s an urgency to the tracks that wouldn’t sit well on most Candlemass releases, the production is deliberately basic (reminiscent of say Witchcraft) and ever-present is a majestic-yet-sinister vibe that Candlemass were so good at and spawned so many imitators over the years. What we actually end up with is 4 tracks where all four musicians involved get to show off a side to themselves at some point in proceedings that they aren’t necessarily immediately known for.
So, in summary, this is an EP with three top-notch doom-tinged Metal monsters, sporting variations in mood, tempo and style and the whole thing is rounded off with a melotron infused acoustic affair (‘The Whispering’) to bring everything to a heartfelt close. This is certainly a great 4 track appetite wetter and I sincerely hope a full-length album is planned for the near future.
(7.5/10 Andy Barker)