It wasn’t that long ago that Swedish doom pioneers Candlemass announced their final album would have been 2012’s Psalms for the Dead, yet here we are with a new EP but not necessarily a refreshed sound. The only other recent effort Candlemass have delivered since their supposed hiatus (announced in 2014 with no degree of certainty amongst fans) was 2016’s Death Thy Lover, which also featured latest vocalist Mats Levén, a man who had no easy job trying to fill the void left behind by Robert Lowe. Even at the announcement of a new EP however, this all seems too good to be true. Are we about to witness another hiatus, or will Candlemass continue where they left off? It remains to be seen, but in the meantime House of Doom will tide everyone over, albeit only just.
House of Doom has an overall runtime of just under twenty minutes, and unfortunately in that twenty minutes nothing spectacular really happens-at least not so much so that newcomers will be intrigued to check out other Candlemass material. For House of Doom is pretty uninspired in its delivery and performance, perhaps even more so than 2012’s full-length Psalms for the Dead. Candlemass definitely provide answers to those who question their legacy within the doom sub-genre, but only in a by-the-numbers way and not so much reminding us all of the band at their peak performance. It could be down to the grainy vocal delivery of “Flowers of Deception”, or the tiresome riff work in the title track. It could even be the way in which Candlemass decided to shoehorn a fully acoustic number into the EP to show some versatility, but what’s most questionable is why exactly the best song (and it really is, head and shoulders above the rest of the EP), “Dolls On a Wall” is left until the end. Couldn’t it have opened up the EP and presented us all with something fresh and tasy to get our hooks into, rather than just appear as a nice suprise for the EP to close? Its instrumental performance only improves this impression, bewildering the listener and making them question why the other songs weren’t of this quality.
House of Doom isn’t even a return to form as such, considering that the members of Candlemass are still active and clearly want to remain relevant. Yet with most of this EP seemingly clutching at straws in trying to alienate the band’s better career moments, it seems that something iconic has been lost in the mix. For this reason, it’s a largely average effort, but one which (like all other Candlemass releases) isn’t without its perks.
Released: 25th May, 2018
- House of Doom
- Flowers of Deception
- Dolls On a Wall
Official bandpage: http://candlemass.se/