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Review: Candlemass - Psalms for the Dead
Psalms for the Dead

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2012
Duration: 50:13
Tracks: 9
Genre: Doom Metal


Review online: June 14, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.96/5 (79.13%) (46 Votes)

Psalms for the Dead is the 11th studio album from venerable Doom merchants Candlemass. This time around Leif Edling, Robert Lowe and their cohorts have added a 70s sound to their classic heavy, crushing riffs. That's not to say there aren't speedier parts to the album, for instance, the song "Prophet," which leads off Psalms for the Dead, features the drums and guitars moving along at a rather sprightly pace. The meat of the album is, however, slow and heavy, just what fans of the band expect.

The aforementioned 70s vibe runs through "The Lights of Thebe," with its Middle Eastern-tinged melodies and Lowe's powerful vocals evoking Rainbow's "The Gates of Babylon." It pops up in the Black Sabbath-inspired riffs of "Psalms for the Dead" and "The Killing of the Sun" and is all over the Hammond organ-style keyboards of "Siren Song." For someone like me, who grew up listening to the likes of Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, etc. these are all familiar favorites.

It isn't all roses, though. Those same keyboards are over-used throughout the album and get tedious quickly. There is some weak songwriting ("The Sound of Dying Demons" and "Waterwitch" feature choruses that simply repeat the song title over and over). The album ends on what could have been a high note with the decent "Black as Time" but the song is hamstrung by a heavy-handed, irritating narration that add nothing of value that isn't covered by the song's lyrics. At nearly a minute, it is way too long and then, when you thought it was over, the same narration pops up again midway through the song. Ugh.

Despite its "Jekyll and Hyde" nature, I like a lot of Psalms for the Dead, but it doesn't do anything the band hasn't already covered on Death Magic Doom. I wouldn't consider it a mandatory purchase, but fans should find some value.

More about Candlemass...
Review: Ancient Dreams (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Candlemass (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Candlemass (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Chapter VI (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Death Magic Doom (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Death Thy Lover (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Documents of Doom (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: King Of The Grey Islands (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Nightfall (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Psalms for the Dead (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Sweet Evil Sun (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Tales of Creation (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Curse of Candlemass (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with vocalist Johan Längqvist and guitarist Mats "Mappe" Björkman on July 8, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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