Death Magic Doom

As elder statesmen in the world of Doom Metal, Sweden’s Candlemass has carved a long, deep canyon in the genre leaving a mark like few have since or will again. While not the original vocalist, the now departed Messiah Marcolin is regarded as part of the band’s quintessential line up and his different replacements have been the subject of much debate. That is until the Swedes enlisted the services of American throat Robert Lowe of US Doom Metal favorites Solitude Aeturnus. With few exceptions, his debut with the band, 2007’s King Of The Grey Islands, was regarded as an out of the park home run. Now with Death Magic Doom, his second full-length with the band (3 recording overall counting last year’s Lucifer Rising EP), Lowe has his feet firmly planted in the Candlemass landscape and sounds as if he’s been the only singer the band has ever had.

There is a sense of urgency with this album…a dark, intense sort of energy permeating every moment of this reocrd. The songs sound like they are going to slide out of the speakers, sneak up behind you and sink their fangs into your flesh, devouring you from the inside out. Lowe has been blessed with one of the most menacing and expressive voices in all of Metal and he truly shines in the context of this style. He sounds like an evil nobleman, a diabolical aristocrat spreading his will amongst lesser beings. OK, I admit to being something of a fanboy when it comes to both Lowe and Candlemass. The combination of the two is pretty close to Doom Metal perfection for me.

Opener “If I Ever Die” is a fast, neck-snapping Metal monster sounding every bit as classic as “Neon Knights” kicking off the Heaven And Hell album. The band is fired up on this one. “The Bleeding Baroness” is one of the best songs on the record with a creepy, somber opening melody leading into a head-banging groove. The chorus in the second half of the song has some great violin layered into it only adding to the atmosphere. I can see this song being performed in some cold, dark European castle…flaming torches, swinging chandeliers and all. The nearly 8-minute “House Of A Thousand Voices” is a thundering death march in itself. The tempo kicks up again on “Dead Angel” with some killer double-kick driven rhythms. Throw those horns and bang that head! Album closer “My Funeral Dreams” is another certified classic in the Candlemass catalog from the quiet intro to the “Iommi stomp” of the verses to the ominous church-organ on the chorus. In the case of “Hammer Of Doom”, the title says it all…it’s a slow moving river of molten Doom consuming everything it encounters.

I was excited when Lowe joined the band. I like King Of The Grey Islands. I like Death Magic Doom even more. The band has more than survuved the switch in vocalists and, more than 20 years since their debut, is still producing absolute top quality Doom Metal proving that they are still one of the best. It goes without saying that I highly reccomend this record.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
May 28th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Dan

    “survuved” the switch in vocalists. ha

    never could get into Candlemass. I have Ancient Dreams, can’t get past that second track. I love doom, but they snooze me every time.

  2. Commented by: emperorjvl

    “King…” was better. No track can top Embracing the Styx.

  3. Commented by: ceno

    Excellent review for an excellent album. I like this band with Lowe more than without him.

  4. Commented by: Desperado

    Nice review,I love this album!!!Amazing songs and solos with some nice epic finnishes(imho)!

  5. Commented by: stilllife666

    On Rob Lowe: “He sounds like an evil nobleman, a diabolical aristocrat spreading his will amongst lesser beings.”

    This couldn’t have been more aptly stated. Great review, and a winner of an album.

  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Johan Lanquist was the quintessential Candlemass singer, not Messiah Marcolin. Marcolin practically forced himself into the band. I may love Messiah’s voice (vibrato from hell!!!) but I’ve gotta give credit where it’s due.

    With that said, Lowe is a damn fine replacement. One of the best doom vocalists I’ve ever heard.

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