Psalms for the Dead
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3.52 | 16 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Doom Metal


1. Prophet (6:05)
2. The Sound of Dying Demons (5:30)
3. Dancing in the Temple (Of the Mad Queen Bee) (3:38)
4. Waterwitch (7:03)
5. The Lights of Thebe (5:49)
6. Psalms for the Dead (5:15)
7. The Killing of the Sun (4:09)
8. Siren Song (5:57)
9. Black as Time (6:47)

Total Time 50:13


- Leif Edling / bass
- Robert Lowe / vocals
- Jan Lindh / drums
- Mats Björkman / rhythm guitars
- Lars Johansson / lead guitars

About this release

Released on June 8th 2012 on Napalm Records.

According to Candlemass' members, this will be the last album they will ever make.

Thanks to Wilytank for the addition

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Psalms for the Dead" is the 11th full-length studio album by Swedish doom metal act Candlemass. The album was released through Napalm Records in June 2012. In several interviews leading up to the release of the album, members of the band have stated that "Psalms for the Dead" will be the last Candlemass release but that they won´t split up. I guess that means that they will occasionally tour with the material they have already recorded. The album features the same lineup who recorded the last two albums, but lead vocalist Robert Lowe was fired from the band just around the time of the album´s release.

A decision to stop recording new material while you are still on top of your game, is always a hard decision to make. But it´s sometimes the most wise one if you count integrity and how you are gonna be remembered in the future as important career goals. Considering the generally high quality of the material on "Psalms for the Dead", it might just be a little too soon to stop for Candlemass though.

The music on "Psalms for the Dead" is traditional doom metal with an epic edge and it´s not surprisingly the unmistakable sound of Candlemass. The riffs and the rhythms are brick heavy yet feature enough groove to drive the music forward in an energetic fashion, the guitar leads are melodic, and the vocals by Robert Lowe are powerful and skillfully executed. There are excursions into faster (well...relatively) paced traditional heavy metal territory too like it´s the case on "Dancing in the Temple (Of the Mad Queen Bee)" but the music is generally doomy, slow, or mid paced. The band have opted to include quite a bit of organ in their music this time around and that might prove to be an aquired taste for some. It´s adds an organic 70s atmosphere to the album, and it also makes the album stand out a bit from the rest of the band´s discography.

The sound production is clear and powerful and suits the music well. Paired with the high standard musicianship and the strong songwriting, that makes for one hell of a great doom metal release and "Psalms for the Dead" fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating.
Apparently, this is and isn't Candlemass' swansong: whilst they've not ruled out further live activity, apparently they're not going to make any more studio albums after this. This isn't a unique situation in metal: Bolt Thrower made a very respectable choice to refrain from producing new studio albums unless and until they felt they had a set of new material of comparable quality to their best work. The difference is that Bolt Thrower ended on a high, producing Those Once Loyal - an album which, despite feeling a little formulaic at points, was at least true to the Bolt Thrower spirit and was a decent epilogue to their studio career.

The same cannot be said for Psalms For the Dead. The thing about the best Candlemass albums was that, despite playing in (and arguably helping to define) the traditional doom metal subgenre, their material never felt generic. There was never the impression that the band were following someone else's formula - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus or Nightfall might have owed a lot to Black Sabbath, but there was never the sense that Sabbath - or Saint Vitus, or Sleep, or anyone else for that matter - could have made those albums. They had their own unique Candlemass-y personality which set them apart.

Sadly, this isn't the case here. To be blunt, the songwriting and performances here are outright generic. Rob Lowe certainly throws his weight into the vocals but he doesn't seem to believe in them; compare to the perfect note of despair he hits on the opening track to King of the Grey Islands, for instance. Musically, this could really be any latter-day Sabbath revival band chugging away. The unique atmosphere and personality in evidence both in the classic early Candlemass albums and in their recent efforts has entirely departed, and what is left is competent but repetitive generic supermarket brand doom metal. In short, not the way legends like Candlemass should have taken their final bow.

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