The Doomsday Kingdom by Adam McCann
Nuclear Blast Records 2017
“Into the catacombs of the Silent Kingdom”
In doom and heavy metal circles, Leif Edling is regarded as somewhat of a legend. A founding member of doom metal icons, Candlemass, Edling followed on from the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram by forging a legacy of his own, not only with Candlemass, but also Avatarium and now The Doomsday Kingdom.
When Edling decided to take a year out due to ill health in 2014, it was spoke of hushed tones that he was working on a different project, but new releases from Candlemass and Avatarium displaced this in memory and when The Doomsday Kingdom released their self-titled debut album this year, not only was it a surprise, but also managed to slip out relatively under the radar.
Edling knows his audience and ‘The Doomsday Kingdom’ picks up exactly where the excellent latest Candlemass EP ‘Death Thy Lover’ left off with Edling borrowing Avatarium guitarist; Marcus Jidell as well as Wolf vocalist Niklas Stålvind into The Doomsday Kingdom project. ‘The Doomsday Kingdom’ rumbles into life with ‘Silent Kingdom’, easily one of the best tracks on the album and proves that 30 years on, The Doomfather can still write a killer riff with a bass sound alone that can carry an album. ‘Silent Kingdom’ wouldn’t be out of place on Candlemass’ 1986 stellar debut ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ with its rolling Black Sabbath ‘’Vol. 4’/’Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ Iommi style groove. As you would expect, the Sabbath grooves continue throughout with ‘The Never Machine’, ‘A Spoonful of Darkness’, with its fantastic choral work and even into the instrumental ‘See You Tomorrow’ in which a very spacious sound draws immediate connotations with ‘Fluff’. ‘See You Tomorrow’ is much longer than its inspirational counterpart and although it does contain a beautiful chord progression, it doesn’t save it from bordering on mind numbingly boring. However, alongside ‘Silent Kingdom’, the standout track from the album is the utterly fantastic ‘The Sceptre’ with its huge crushing riff, stop/starts, tempo changes and imaginative medieval lyrics easily place ‘The Sceptre’ as a secondary peak of ‘The Doomsday Kingdom’ and although ‘The Sceptre’ is great, it is unfortunately coupled with a rather weedy and repetitive guitar solo.
Doom metal has never really been the most original genre and The Doomsday Kingdom do spend a lot of the album ‘borrowing’ from various different places, ‘Hand of Hell’ launches with a riff that is reminiscent of ‘Turn Up the Night’ from Black Sabbath’s 1981 brilliant album ‘Mob Rules’. If you are going to emulate a Black Sabbath album, then there is no finer than ‘Mob Rules’ and ‘The Silence’ contains a bridge that easily alludes to the bridge section of ‘Country Girl’ from the same album. There are some vocal melodies that also show a parallel towards other tracks gone before them, for example, the intro vocal melody to ‘The Never Machine’ allows you to hum ‘Stormbringer’ by Deep Purple along with it, with a part which borrows the melody from ‘Sleeping Giant’ from the last Candlemass EP, ‘Death Thy Lover’, but the crowning similarity of ‘The Doomsday Kingdom’ is the chorus to ‘Hand of Hell’, with its “bloodstained inside, bloodstained light” delivered on par with ‘Blood Stained’ from the Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens classic ‘Jugulator’.
There is a reminder with ‘The Doomsday Kingdom’ that the project began life as Edling on his own with the album’s closing track, ‘The God Particle’, in which The Doomfather plays the bass and guitar himself as well as the vocals. If anything, ‘The God Particle’ serves to show how long a doom song can be if left unchecked and unrestrained, as the song itself really is a dirge and manages to drag on for nearly 10 minutes without much change. This isn’t helped by Leif Edling’s voice, as the only track on the album which features Edling singing, it reminds you why Edling stepped to the side and found a vocalist, not just in The Doomsday Kingdom, but also Candlemass. That aside, Niklas Stålvind is actually superb with the vocals throughout, it goes to show how much of a versatile voice Stålvind really has. Stålvind’s work with Wolf was always fantastic, however with The Doomsday Kingdom, it now gives a huge different angle and perception of that voice.
‘The Doomsday Kingdom’ is a decent enough album for a start and could have easily been much worse. As an album, it manages to stay well within Edling’s boundaries of accessible doom with lashings of 70’s heavy metal to add another element to the music and yes, it does shamelessly borrow from other bands, yet this just makes the album much more endearing and even fun to play. The question is now, Candlemass, Avatarium and The Doomsday Kingdom, which one will Edling turn his attention to next? 7/10
Adam McCann/ MHF Magazine