Candlemass – Psalms for the Dead

I have been a Candlemass fan for about 25 years, though I have only ever paid much attention to the Messiah Marcolin albums. Messiah’s voice truly made Candlemass for me. Which is not to say I do not enjoy the voice of Robert Lowe, I think Solitude Aeturnus is a fantastic band, but Candlemass just is not the same now, you know? The Messiah albums were released when I was a teen, so I have a nostalgic connection to them that is hard to top.

Despite that predisposition, since Napalm was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the album, I decided to pay closer attention to “Psalms for the Dead” than I had to the previous two albums. I do not know if it is just the passing of time, or my being able to judge this album on its merits alone without the earlier baggage, but damn guys, I honestly like this album.

Candlemass has always been the doom metal gold standard for me: massive, heavy riffs and thick, melodic vocals, all on a dark, epic scale. It is inspiring and depressing, both at the same time. “Psalms for the Dead” is certainly different from the Messiah era, since Robert Lowe is on vocals, but it still has so much of what I loved about them before that I cannot help but love this album too. The heavy riffs, clean, clear vocals and a stellar production make this album a worthy addition to the Candlemass catalog.

Wouldn’t you know, as soon as I come around to Lowe on vocals, he quits the band. This is supposedly the last Candlemass studio album, though they will apparently continue to play shows with new singer, Mats Levén. Leif apparently wants to go out on a high note and not put out sub-par albums. We shall see if it lasts. I will continue to hope for one more Messiah reunion album in the future. While I am at it, I will wish for a U.S. tour, as well. Yeah.

Well, just in case this is the last studio album, make sure to check it out. If nothing else, this is simply another superb heavy metal album. I believe I will give the previous two albums a closer listen to see what is going on there. Give a listen to this album’s title track below.