Album Review: Candlemass - The Pendulum
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
Few things brought as much joy as the news in late 2018 that Johan Langquist was back with Candlemass. The voice of ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ had returned after 32 years, even though he was never a full-time member of the band. The resulting album, ‘The Door To Doom’ was one of my top albums of 2019 and whilst we wait with feverish anticipation for the follow up, the Swedes have thrown a couple of tasty morsels from the top table in the shape of ‘The Pendulum’, an EP of never-before-heard, unused tracks cut from the ‘The Door To Doom’ recording sessions.
The title track kicks things off, a gentle acoustic guitar leading to a thunderous riff which would wake the dead, certain to get the dandruff flying and skull crushingly heavy. All the hallmarks of Leif Edling are present, with Langquist’s soaring voice, huge drums and the duel guitars of Mats "Mappe" Björkman and Lars "Lasse" Johansson fighting for pole position in a cacophony of bone splintering heaviness. There’s nothing I like more than Candlemass in full flight and this track works on every level. It pulses with energy and leads neatly into the second song, ‘Snakes of Goliath’. This is a slower song, the Sabbath riff (reminiscent of ‘Hand of Doom’) equally heavy and punishing, the sheer weight of the song suffocating whilst the keyboards that emerge merely enhance the evil feel before the track picks up with a killer groove guaranteed to get the head banging and some ferocious guitar work leads to the closing, slower finale.
‘Sub Zero’ is a 1:16 acoustic track, demonstrating the band’s subtler side whilst Edling fuzzes things up with a chunky bass solo on ‘Aftershock’, leading neatly into the brain splitting ‘Porcelain Skull’, a track that should already be familiar to fans of the band. Another gargantuan song, it splits between concrete smashing doom and lighter, faster speed segments. Classic Candlemass with Langquist spitting out his words with passion and emotion. Another short piece, ‘The Cold Room’ closes the EP, acoustic guitar and piano combining beautifully in a tender and gentle finish to a melancholic masterclass from the godfathers of an entire genre.
Candlemass release 'The Pendulum' via Napalm Records on March 27th