Wednesday, 28 December 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Candlemass, "Sweet Evil Sun"

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/11/2022
Label: Napalm Records

“Sweet Evil Sun” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1. Wizard Of The Vortex
2. Sweet Evil Sun
3. Angel Battle
4. Black Butterfly
5. When Death Sighs
6. Scandinavian Gods
7. Devil Voodoo
8. Crucified
9. Goddess
10. A Cup Of Coffin (outro)
The Review:
Swedish doom legends Candlemass return with- depending how you look at it- yet another album or an exciting new album!
There are no Iommi guest spots this time, but original vocalist Johan Lanqvist is still there and with material written for him in mind, this is lined up to be a more cohesive and convincing album than “The Door To Doom”. Now, it goes without saying that Candlemass are one of THE seminal doom bands- usually mentioned along with Saint Vitus, Trouble, Cathedral and so on- that legacy, though is a blessing and a curse.
When a band makes a record as seminal and legendary as “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus”, it’s hard to follow it. Fortunately, for many Candlemass fans records like “Ancient Dreams” or “Nightfall” are even better. It would be hard to find fans who pick their latter-day output above the debut and the Marcolin classics, but there must be some out there.
For me, I enjoy most of their records. I thought the aforementioned “The Door To Doom” was a good album- catchy, solid, well produced and overall a quality return to form. “Sweet Evil Sun”, for me, continues that trajectory. “Wizard of the Vortex” is a suitably riffy opener and the BIG song of the album- the title track- follows with big choruses, pagan references and big riffs. Is it groundbreaking? Does it match up to EDM? Does it need Iommi soloing away? The answer is… no; to all of those things. However, this is good stuff.
Sure, it sounds like Candlemass. Yes, it’s doom metal. As the likes of “Angel Battle” and “Black Butterfly” rolled by, I found myself enjoying the record for exactly what it is: one of the classic doom bands still doing what they do best. Good songs. Good epic sounding riffs. And, honestly, it’s great that they are still around, let alone actually producing cohesive bodies of work like this.
The band still plough the Sabbath furrow like few others- it has that Nordic darkness along with the Iommi-esque menace. The writing uses good and tested methods; faster riffs for the middle sections, dramatic vocal shifts when required, female backing vocals (“When Death Sighs”), solid production and a dark and ethereal atmosphere throughout.
Overall, it’s probably best not to compare this to the early records- or even to attempt it. A lot of time has passed since then, a lifetime really. The band just cannot be the same. I’m just happy that there is still a Candlemass and they still make records I enjoy. Yes, I’m not that keen on “Scandinavian Gods”, or the intro to “Devil Voodoo” but that’s ok. The fact is that most of the stuff here I DO like and I’ve liked it more each time I’ve listened to it.
This is another solid entry into the canon of Candlemass. If you like/d the band, you might well like this. The band won’t reinvent the wheel again, but at this stage I don’t want or expect them to. Epic Doom metal, as it should be.
“Sweet Evil Sun” is available now 

Band info: facebook