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Review of Candlemass’s Death Thy Lover

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With all the projects that Leif Edling has forged in recent years (not to mention his chronic fatigue), it seemed like Candlemass would never venture into the studio again. However, the Swedish doom titans have returned with their first effort since their 2012 “finale” Psalms For The Dead and their first to feature live singer Mats Leven. The results are solid, even if the intent behind them is tricky to pinpoint.

As expected, Death Thy Lover‘s style has more in common with what Candlemass was doing in the new millennium than anything on Nightfall or Ancient Dreams. The thick guitar tone is right in line with their self-titled album and Leven’s vocal performance has an impish character similar to previous singer Robert Lowe. There is also some subconscious influence from Edling’s other projects; “Sinister and Sweet” in particular would’ve fit right in on Avatarium’s last release.

But even if Edling’s songwriting may result in interchangeable material, it still happens to be pretty damn good. “Sleeping Giant” is the best song, riding a steady riff and a playful chorus that doesn’t sacrifice the dark feel. The title track is also pretty solid though the flamboyant chorus and air of finality would probably make it a better closer than the chugging instrumentation of “The Goose.”

While Death Thy Lover feels like it could’ve been released by any of Leif Edling’s bands, it is a reminder of how he releases enjoyable doom under any banner. The riffs are dark and memorable, the vocals are skillfully delivered, and there’s a lot of variety for a four song EP. It’s hard to tell what this will lead to but here’s hoping Leif isn’t going to wear himself out too much…

Highlights:
“Death Thy Lover”
“Sleeping Giant”

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