To get burned out by work is a bitch. To get burned out by a job that you love must be a double bitch. Or ten times a bitch! So, when the good doctor tells us mortals that the only cure for hitting the wall is rest, rest and more rest, then that is what we do. We rest. No work, no stress, just sit at home, take it easy and watch movies, listen to music and be a softie. Now, everybody knows that it’s not as easy as it sounds – quite the opposite, it can be Hell. At least that’s what people who has gone through such a thing tells me. This is exactly what happened to Candlemass mastermind Leif Edling a few years back. So Leif stopped touring – he didn’t even tour with Candlemass, only an appearance here and there – and Candlemass is Edling’s band, his baby, his life’s work. So that must be unimaginably rough. But a guy like Edling just can’t sit idle doing nothing, that would probably drive him to the funny farm. So what to do? Write new music, of course. So while on sick leave from Candlemass, Edling started a new band called Avatarium – now two fantastic albums into their career – and when that band took off and stood steady on its own two feet, Edling simply started yet another band.
He named the band / project The Doomsday Kingdom (awesome name!!!) and brought in guitarist Marcus Jidell (also in Avatarium), singer Niclas Stålvind (that’s Steelwind, in English, friends – how cool name is that?) from Wolf and drummer Andreas ‘Hobo’ Johansson (Narnia, Royal Hunt) to make it happen. The band released an E.P. – Never Machine – in November 2016 (which I haven’t heard yet, I have to admit with big shame) while finishing the full-length album in the studio. Now, I admit that I’m not a big Candlemass fan, but I really dig Edling’s Abstrakt Algebra and Krux albums and in my book, Avatarium’s albums are the best albums Edling has ever put his name on, so I had some high hopes for this record.
I push play and “Silent Kingdom” blasts through my speakers and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who the riffs belongs to – it screams Leif Edling all the way. It’s dark and it’s heavy as can be, but there are also parts that sends my mind back to early NWOBHM and it marries brilliantly with the doom that is Edling’s trademark. The melody is distinct and direct and you know what, the chorus is almost catchy. Excellent! “The Never Machine” is dark and gloomy and all Edling recognizable, but both Therion and King Diamond with some classic hard rock pops up here and there – and I just love the variation. Stålvind sings the living daylight out of the tune and I am completely floored – what a killer! “A Spoonful Of Darkness” is heavy as a mountain but it also sports a big-ass groove which maybe isn’t the first thing that enters your mind when you think of Leif Edling. But fear not, the whole tune is sounds like Edling all the way even though the tune is more accessible than what we’re used to. Add some 70’s classic hard rock to the doom and we have a winner here. “See You Tomorrow” is a soft, mellow and taciturn instrumental track based on guitars and piano, very peaceful and very tranquil, complete with an atmospheric darkness. Very good.
“The Sceptre” is the most Candlemass-like tune so far and this too has a vibe of crunchy NWOBHM over it. But it’s not as direct as the rest of the tunes and I find it hard to grasp it. It’s not bad, though. “Hand Of Hell” has a riff reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Symptom Of The Universe”, a fat beat, a striking punch and it goes right in your face to pick a fight – and wins. But there is also a middle part that is extremely melodic where the melody almost goes into pop territory. Well, as pop as a guy like Edling can get, that is. Which is really not very much pop. But it fits the song like a glove and brings out some more diversity. One of my favorite songs on the record. “The Silence” is heavy, raw and sounds more like classic 80’s heavy metal than actual doom, of course with the doomy and gloomy riffs and darkness that has Edling written all over it. There’s also a pretty soft break in the middle of the tune that sports a brilliant vocal melody that takes the tune out of the box somewhat – great song. They close the album with nine minutes of heavy gloom and doom called “The God Particle”. The Black Sabbath influence is all over this hard pumping, slow tune but there’s also a ballad part in the tune that makes the track sound like a rawer Avatarium – very atmospheric. A perfect way to end an album like this.
By now, I guess everybody knows what kind of music will come out every time Edling starts a new band / project – it’s not that likely that we’ll ever see the day when Leif Edling starts a glam rock or an AOR project, but I really like that he like to stretch his doom in different directions whenever he jumps into a new project – it would be quite boring if everything he did sounded exactly like Candlemass, right? That said, it’s easy to hear that Edling is the mastermind behind this record. It’s not really a huge cry from Avatarium – sound wise this goes back to the golden days of the early 80’s for inspiration and it’s more raw and attitude laden than Avatarium. But the riffs, the melodies and many arrangements brings my mind to Avatarium. The record is Edling all the way and it would be strange if not a little bit of Candlemass would be in there. Avatarium are still my favorite Edling band, but I must admit that The Doomsday Kingdom comes in second place. A damn good doom metal album that will probably satisfy Edling fans all over the globe. An album you could easily buy unheard.
1. Silent Kingdom
2. The Never Machine
3. A Spoonful Of Darkness
4. See You Tomorrow
5. The Sceptre
6. Hand Of Hell
7. The Silence
8. The God Particle