Candlemass - _Candlemass_
(Nuclear Blast, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
Always expect the unexpected, or so the saying goes. It's certainly no great surprise by any stretch of the imagination that last year's trend of gone-but-not-forgotten stalwarts reuniting has continued unabated into 2005. After all, nostalgia is big business -- even in the stubbornly uncommercial world of metal -- and this year alone we're already set to hear the first Obituary record in eight years, to name but one example. So what does come as somewhat of a curveball is that the finest of these comeback records thus far is delivered by a band whose return to the fray garnered considerably less fanfare and media hoopla than many of their peers last year.You see, while Death Angel and Suffocation released some incredible examples of a group hitting the ground running, what sets the latest Candlemass effort apart from anything their peers were able to offer is the fact that it isn't simply a consolidation of the qualities that made its predecessors so intensely listenable. Far from it in fact, as the up-tempo chug of "The Black Dwarf" provides a clear signal at the start of the record that the melodramatic doom of _Nightfall_ and _Ancient Dreams_ shall remain consigned to the past. Even when Candlemass does slow things down -- as they do superbly on the haunting "Seven Silver Keys" -- there's a genuine sense of evolution. This is not simply a case of a band capitalizing on nostalgia to make a decent record; this is arguably the direction in which they always would have headed anyway, and that in itself makes the prospect of future releases from the band almost more exciting than this self-titled monster.
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