Leif Edling - Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy
Candlelight Records
Doom Metal
8 songs (43'25")
Release year: 2009
Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Alex

If you have never heard the name Candlemass, you obviously clicked on the wrong review. You must not be a doom lover. And if you are, you are 100% obligated to know that the majority of songwriting duties in Candlemass are/were being handled by their bassist Leif Edling. It is a total conjecture on my part as to why Leif needed to create a solo project bearing his name, but I would venture to say Leif was looking to explore a bit more in the classic occult direction, just as Candlemass assumed somewhat of a rocking tangent.

If my supposition is correct, then with the band of players whose names are a total unknown, Leif has achieved the goal on Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy. The tracks on the album proceed at molasses speed and shoulder mammoth-like heaviness. It is hard to talk about riff change and excessive clutter, when there is only about one riff per song. They are introduced early and repeated consistently. These riffs unfold as a bear gait, chords falling down in a once-in-an-eternity fashion. At the same time, these chord sequences can be made almost hummable, especially in On the Edge of Time, which follows a rather monumental Angelic ‘til I Die. The closer Nautilus, a largely instrumental track, creates a complete deep sea atmosphere, with its nautical ping-pangs and guitar driven psychedelia first, only to end up a total old Candlemass crusher once sufficient submersion depth is reached. The drums on the album are very reserved, without any frills, yet they flay the flesh very efficiently, as evidenced at the end of The Scar. Being a bassist and the songwriter, Leif allows himself to indulge in a bass run or two (The Scar, Butterfly), especially given that the album is not very guitar lead rich.

The dealbreaker, at least for some, would be the use of keyboards on Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy. Played by Carl Westholm, the keyboards on the album sound more like a full-blown church organ. They absolutely fill in the spaces between those monstrous riffs with uplifting cathedral atmosphere. At times they even conduct the main melody (Angelic ‘til I Die). Taken to these heights, the organ instills a feeling of veneration and mystical worship. The comparison may be a little out there, but the album does remind me of way too serious, less gamesmanship King Diamond, Leif Edling’s organ wiping the floor with King’s harpsichord. Leif’s vocals have nothing common with King Diamond’s whatsoever. Extreme only in spots, the vocal style on the album sometimes can hardly be called singing at all. Practically spoken, without pushing the envelope, Leif’s voice is a recitation of suppressed emotions.

Towering and layered, the album should appeal to those who long for some good classical doom, or to those into modern melodic death doom (without the deathy vocals), like Swallow the Sun.

Killing Songs :
Angelic 'til I Die, On the Edge of Time, Nautilus
Alex quoted 83 / 100
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