Candlemass’ ‘The Pendulum’ EP digs some new ground, revisits ideas, songs floating in ether

It’s been another long, trying week, and we’re all still stressed to death, but what are you going to do? We’re settling into whatever a new normal is for this week anyway, so we’re going to ease into a smaller release today, though it’s from a gargantuan band that’s lasted the test of time, and I’ll shut up now and talk about it.

It’s clear Candlemass have created some of the world’s most important metal, not just doom. They’ve been heavily influential, they’ve survived many eras with myriad lineup changes, and yet here they are in 2020, still pushing along 36 years later. Last year, the band dropped the mammoth “The Door to Doom” that brought vocalist Johan Langquist back into the fold, who originally was a session hand on their landmark debut “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus.” It was yet another breath of new life into the machine, and it has spawned a new EP “The Pendulum” that lands imminently. The six-track collection consists of the title cut and five demo pieces, three of which are quick instrumental songs that were left around after “The Door” sessions. It might not be must-have material for most, though Candlemass completists will want it, but really, you’re definitely not going to be wasting your time and money if you invest in this.

“The Pendulum” obviously is the new track here, and it’s a crusher as it trudges open and unfurls full doom glory. Langquist’s voice booms as we’re used to, wailing over the chorus, “Oh, the pendulum it turns, it twists and it churns, it burns,” which easily will roll through your head. Keys haunt as the strong chorus kicks down the door, living to rouse again, and the track burns away in a power surge. “Snakes of Goliath” is slow driving and sinister, chewing at the veins of classic Sabbath as the chorus washes in and darkens the room. The soloing rings in your ears, charging your nerves, while a smeary, psychedelic push comes on, ending things with the sharp chorus. “Sub Zero” is a quick acoustic track that makes it feel like the dead of winter, when warmth is at its lowest. Then we’re into “Aftershock,” a brief piece that has bass rumbling and droning, feeling threatening and dark, almost like it’s a portion of something that would have fit in a larger composition. “Porcelain Skull” is a cover of a 2019 Avatarium track, and the band delivers a grim, gruff version of the song, where Langquist sounds raspy but powerful, and the guitars have a blunt edge to them. The soloing eats through bone later in the song, while a muddier path is beaten down as the track ends in fire. “The Cold Room” closes the EP as acoustic guitars and pianos slowly tread and synth waves layer in, letting the track bleed away.

Even a quick odds and ends release from Candlemass still holds a ton of weight from a creative standpoint, and “The Pendulum” EP is another fine burst of classic doom that works ideally in a modern world. Especially now. This is a nice, digestible 20-minute dose that will be an appetizer for long-time fans and perhaps a first taste for someone who hasn’t indulged yet and just wants a glimpse into what these legends bring to the table.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/candlemass

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/

Or here (Europe): https://napalmrecords.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://label.napalmrecords.com/

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