Doom metal is a secret love of mine. It's not a genre I am always having my nose in, but whenever I'm in the mood, a good bit of doom never does any harm. Especially, when a Candlemass CD is near.
The band's earlier career was met with some line up confusion. With multi changing vocalists, the band's most longest and frequent vocalist (and in my opinion the best) Messiah Marcolin's presence on this album sadly met a short end, due to this album being his last with the band (before his reunion with them for what I agree to be the bands strongest album).
Music wise the album is pretty much what you expect. Black Sabbath esque doom with a slower and more 80s feel to it, the sound does show a natural progression from their earlier sounds (with some slight surprises along the way too). Lyrically the album seems to be based around a concept. The basic story involves someone who dies and is able to go the afterlife. Creative in style and wording, the story isn't too in your face, but still is there for lyric buffs like myself.
The only real negative bone to pick with this album is the production. While musically the album is pretty good (nothing much you can really do with 80's style distortion), the vocals are probably the biggest problem. Messiah's voice is definitely one of the most unique and powerful in the Doom metal genre, so it is a bit annoying to hear his powerful warbles so low in the mix.
The real shining moment for on this album has to be the opening track “Dark Reflections.” A more upbeat moment for the band, the song has some pretty cooler riffs and a damn fine chorus.
One of the oddest moments on the album appears on the instrumental track “Into The Unfathomed Tower.” A neo classical style instrumental, almost done in the vein of Yngwie Malmsteen or Stratovarius, it is an interesting little interlude on the album, showing off the virtuostic talents on the musicians which isn't very much the focus usually of Candlemass' music.
A track which really shows off the vocals of Messiah has to be “The Edge Of Heaven.” Some pretty cool doomy riffs and some mad warbles gives this song an extra oomph.
One of the most interesting songs on the album is probably “Through The Infinite Halls Of Death.” Starting off with a slow doomy riff, the song soon turns into a faster and more aggressive song with some interesting twists and turns throughout.
The album's closing track “ A Tale Of Creation” is definitely one of the more epic moments on the album. With some poignant lyrics and a rather interesting arrangement, the song is a brilliant ending to this heavenly based concept album.
In conclusion, this album is pretty much classic doom metal at its best, done by one of the pioneering bands of the genre. While some of the production on this album can be rather weak, there are some blistering tunes on this album with the classic line up of the band being present. A definite must have for fans of doom.