Candlemass Death Magic Doom

I lost track of Candlemass somewhere in the midst of Messiah Marcolin's revolving participation, so Death Magic Doom came to my ears as a pleasant surprise. The writing has a strong vintage slant, with a hint of Dio and Sabbath shading the already doom-y Candlemass tones. The melodies are heavy, the pace lugubrious, except when they break into dirge-y rock, and the songs are solid in an all-encompassing sense. Death Magic Doom starts out surprisingly fast, almost (but not quite) thrashy, but before long the more predictable weight slams down and dominates the entire album, starting with the oh-so-appropriately titled "Hammer of Doom." The weight is persistent but not oppressive, guitar theatrics and faster riffs cropping up later on to diffuse the intensity. Things even take a groovy/catchy turn in "The Bleeding Baroness," the record's most brain-seeping track, and though the rest of the record isn't as captivating as these seven minutes of sorcery, Death Magic Doom is still a hell of a ride. (Nuclear Blast)