Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy
Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy is an album of deeply reverent and devotional doom from Candlemass guitarist and principal songwriter Leif Edling. Though responsible (directly and indirectly) for much of the current crop of doom’n’drone young’uns via classic ‘Mass albums like Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Ancient Dreams, Eidling and Candlemass take a more European, classically metal approach than much of their offspring. This is very evident on the songs that make up Songs of Torment (love the William Blake homage), where the music is epic and lush, instead of harsh and droney. Ominous church organ underlays most of the smoldering ingots of guitar heaviness, the lyrics are recited like epic poems, spacey antique synth effects wisp in and out, each note and beat rings with endless portent, rendered in a stately pace. This is like music for grand inquisitors and deserted cathedrals.
The problem with the album is that I’m rather unsure why Edling felt the need to sequester the songs on this album away from Candlemass — or even Abstrakt Algebra — and under his own name. He has complete control and a vibrant creative outlet in Candlemass, and Edling’s songs and riffs on this album aren’t distinctive enough from the baroque avalanche he creates in his day job. To make matters worse, Edling is undone by his stellar taste in vocalists in his main bands, first Messiah Marcolin and then Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeternus, so here, his singtalk vocals just don’t cut the mustard. The album is enjoyable in parts and sooooooo heavy, but by no means essential.
Candlelight Records: www.candlelightrecordsusa.com