Like the EP that Candlemass released last year, The Doomsday Kingdom’s debut album makes one wonder if there’s honestly any difference between the various bands masterminded by bassist Leif “The Doomfather” Edling. They all feature different lineups of musicians but their styles usually don’t venture far from the semi-epic doom format pioneered by Candlemass and Krux since the 2000s. Fortunately The Doomsday Kingdom proves that while Leif has a specific way of doing things, he still happens to be pretty damn good at it.
With the guitars and drums exerting the familiar heavy yet melodic sound, The Doomsday Kingdom’s wild card ends up being Wolf vocalist Niklas Stålvind. Edling has always had a good ear for singers, but Stålvind’s voice is more nasal and unhinged than his more operatic standbys. As someone who was never quite sold on Wolf, I think the vocals on here do take some getting used to, but they ultimately show a wide range and expression. Of course, they also manage to make the lyrics to songs like “Spoonful of Darkness” sound even cheesier than they already were.
There is also a lot of variety in the songwriting, which also reinforces the feeling of this album being a Leif Edling’s greatest hits of sorts. “Silent Kingdom” starts things off in an almost power metal fashion with a sweeping “Emperor of the Void” style chorus to match, “Never Machine” features one of his more quirky vocal lines, and “Hand Of Hell” is another “Symptom of the Universe” based chug in the vein of “Elephant Star” and “Black Dwarf.” The “See You Tomorrow” is also a highlight as its gentle piano-driven “Fluff” homage makes it seem like it should’ve been on the last Avatarium album.
In many ways, The Doomsday Kingdom’s debut album feels like a Candlemass album in disguise. Even if there are times when one wonders what kept Mats Leven from singing on this, it provides fans with everything they love about the band and its various descendants. The powerful riffs make up for the times when the vocals feel a little shaky and the songwriting makes it worth revisiting. When an album scratches the doom metal itch as well as this one does, it really doesn’t matter what name it’s under.
“See You Tomorrow”
“Hand of Hell”