Sweet Evil Sun is the 13th album overall by Candlemass and the second since the return of original front man Johan Langquist, who had previously only appeared on the band’s 1986 debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, making four-fifths of the band members since that album released.
It has been an incredible journey for the band since making the change in vocalists, even playing their entire debut as a part of Decibel’s annual Metal and Beer Fest in Philadelphia this year. It has been three years since the band had properly opened The Door To Doom, so what does the second go around with this lineup have to yield?
Opening with “Wizard of the Vortex” is a powerful statement. The song plays out in slow fashion with Langquist soaring above the band. This properly marries the doomy dirges to an operatic style of singing for which the band is most famous. “Angel Battle” hits the same high notes a few tracks later with a crushing crescendo fading into darkness at the track’s end.
Transitioning to the title track, the band takes a more traditional approach, not nearly as slow as the preceding track but with more guitar grandeur than vocal virtuosity, provided by the dynamic duo of Mappe Bjorkman and Lars Johansson.
“When Death Sighs” and “Crucified” build slowly with Langquist at the forefront and the music being played at a distance behind him before launching properly into proper Iommian riffs, giving the proper juxtaposition for the band making them sound as if Dio fronted Black Sabbath on Master of Reality. This tremendous combination has aged like fine wine.
These Swedish masters of the craft have once again delivered an outstanding album. Candlemass are without a doubt one of the greatest bands that doom metal has ever produced and Sweet Evil Sun is the latest in a chapter of excellence without parallel.
(released November 18, 2022 on Napalm Records)
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