Over five years ago I wrote these words on this very site “Capilla Ardiente (Burning Chapel) hail from Chile, play doom, and readily admit to being inspired by those far more European veterans Candlemass” Well, now in 2019, both Capilla Ardiente and Candlemass have both finally released a new album, and it’s fair to say that whilst Candlemass may have garnered far more press and anticipation, ‘The Siege’ is likely to have many comparison to ‘The Door to Doom’, both being very much in the same vein of traditional epic doom.
‘The Open Arms, the Open Wounds’ launches ‘The Siege’ in a truly massive fashion, huge riffs, pounding rhythms, and soaring, clean vocals dominating the sound, before halfway through the thirteen minute plus journey lulls the listener in with a gentle break which is itself swept away by a second sonic tsunami of guitars that pour from the speakers. If you want your doom in massive portions, Capilla Ardiente know how to deliver, and deliver by the ton.
The myth and magic inspired goodness continues apace, that pace being even slower and heavier, on ‘The Crimson Fortress’, the foreboding opening conjuring images of a dire, blood-drenched castle encircled by flying demons, an image only reinforced when the lyrics fire in. If you’re looking for a sound track to your next Dungeons and Dragons session, or maybe some background music as you delve into the literature of Robert E. Howard, then look no further. Indeed, in interviews the band have admitted there is a continuing narrative from their prior album, with their own take on the sword and sorcery genre. This theme continues unabated with ‘The Spell of Concealment’, surely a title lifted from an old Gary Gygax TSR publication (and, yes, I am far too old to reference Harry fucking Potter!), but with some fast drum flurries and pounding guitar work evoking more traditional epic heavy metal.
The four-part journey finishes with ‘Fallen Alphas and the Rising’, a number that to be honest deserves its own release on some sort of limited-edition EP for vinyl junkies to drool over. After the slow dirge like opening the guitars of Messrs. Leiva and Borquez go full on NWOBHM, a heavy riff being encircled by a soaring solo, all before Kutzbach’s sustained and occasionally harmonized vocals add to the mix. There is even more than a touch of Prog in the time changes and complex bass and drum lines; this is the sort of track that Iced Earth could add to their set and leave a very satisfied audience. Again Capilla Ardiente let the story of the song spread across over thirteen minutes, a length that even the most epic of doom merchants might baulk at, but with its constantly changing and developing nature, even adding some Spanish arpeggio guitar along the way, at no point does it overstay its welcome.
Whilst it may have taken five years to deliver, and with their other acts that the assorted band members spread their time between it is understandable, ‘The Siege’ is well worth the wait. Despite just four tracks filling the album, none seem laboured or unnecessarily drawn out, which is a testament to the musicianship of the band. Oh, and since I started this review by mentioning Candlemass, I’ll finish the same way by opening myself up to cries of heresy by saying ‘The Siege’ has already been played more times in my house than ‘The Door to Doom’, and that’s a situation that is unlikely to change.