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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Candlemass: Lucifer Rising


1) Lucifer Rising; 2) White God; 3) Demons Gate; 4) At The Gallows End; 5) Solitude; 6) Emperor Of The Void; 7) Devil Seed; 8) Mirror Mirror; 9) Under The Oak; 10) Of Stars And Smoke; 11) Black Dwarf; 12) Samarithan.

This three-song EP, with two new compositions and one re-recording of a classic (ʽDemons Gateʼ), would probably not even deserve a specific mention, had it not been for the decision to expand it with nine extra tracks culled from a 2007 live performance in Athens — which essen­tially transforms a tiny EP into a lengthy live album, their third one overall and the first with Robert Lowe as the lead vocalist. In fact, it can be suspected that the only purpose of the release was to somehow legitimize Lowe's standing with the band in the eyes of all the veteran fans still continuing to deplore the second break with Marcolin.

If you have no specific bones to pick with Lowe in the first place, though, then this is just another quality live recording from the band. Lowe himself introduces a distinctly American flavor to Candlemass: instead of playing the theatrical role of God's / Satan's pawn à la Marcolin, he takes the time in between songs to adress the audience with the friendliness and nonchalance of your next door neighbor or barroom companion — with a sweet mix of politeness and familiarity; and somehow, this attitude even rubs off on the songs, which come off as more natural and earthy than operatic and pretentious. This may or may not be to one's tastes: if you believe that Candle­mass classics only work when they function in 100% «metal theater» mode, I am not going to argue with you. The doom-laden guitar power is fully preserved, anyway.

As for the new songs, I guess they're okay. ʽLucifer Risingʼ itself continues to abuse the ʽChil­dren Of The Graveʼ pattern, but at least they speed up the tempo to mask that, so the main problem with the song is that the chorus is way too repetitive — just how many times do we need to hear that Lucifer is rising before we get the urge to shut off the track in disgusted disbelief? And ʽWhite Godʼ seems to be a musical variation on the theme of ʽDemons Gateʼ, which makes it all the more strange that ʽDemons Gateʼ is the one song from their old catalog that they decided to re-record in the studio and place immediately after ʽWhite Godʼ. Maybe it's one of those «what do you like more, the old shit or the new shit?» moments — personally, I don't care all that much, because the old shit was not all that inspiring in the first place.

Anyway, bottomline is, I can only recommend this for huge supporters of Robert Lowe as the new face of Candlemass — or for those who collect everything and anything with the name of Lucifer on it. Oh, and ʽLucifer Risingʼ is actually available now as a bonus track on the digipak edition of Death Magic Doom, so there's one more argument to skip

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