Upping the bombast with full-bore modern production has sadly come at the expense of the doomy atmospherics that established Candlemass as genre pioneers, and makes the three decades since ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ that ‘Death Thy Lover’ marks seem that little bit longer.
Tanking along at everyone’s least favourite Candlemass pace and building to an arena-ready enormo-chorus, the title track veers into hack metal territory and will have older fans scouring for something reminiscent of the band’s past glories. Though some solid riffs are present – ‘Sleeping Giant’s opening almost restores faith – the well-schooled crooning of vocalist Mats Leven, coupled with the digital steroids of the production gives a sterile feel, with over-emphasis on technique and presentation stifling engagement with the nitty-gritty of the material.
It’s a shame that, with so many bands managing to achieve an organic or ‘old school’ sound using modern recording techniques, Candlemass have opted for the loud-at-any-volume brickwalling technique that has been ruining music since the 1990s. Advances (?) in studio technology cannot however mitigate the lacklustre quality of the writing on much of this EP.
Sadly, ‘Death Thy Lover’ will go down as a fitting tribute to the banality of milestone anniversaries that will have most fans reaching for the timeless source material. One hopes that, like the Sleeping Giant of the EP’s highlight, Candlemass wake from their slumber with their next release.
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