Candlemass – Sweet Evil Sun

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Four decades long and the Swedish doom metal masters Candlemass have been touted as the originators of epic doom metal. Since their groundbreaking debut album “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” established itself in the canons of epic doom invoking dark and medieval tales of sorcery, the sophomore “Nightfall” was another well-defined record highlighted by the excellent vocal performances of Messiah Marcolin. With the 13th album “Sweet Evil Sun” we see the legendary band once again including the original vocalist Johan Langquist, bringing back his ominous vocals as he conveys effectively powerful anthems. Candlemass wields mighty riffs pledging a solemn oath to the fans and displaying strong performances in an enthralling mastery that beckons the band’s classic era.

Veterans such as drummer Jan Lindh, and bassist and founder Leif Edling bring their mastery to the helm, lead guitarist Lars Johansson and rhythm guitarist Mappe Björkman‘s riffs and melodies are filled with grandness and majesty. The epic riffs and the layered-guitars-soaked dirges march out from the forlorn crypt and the drums hammer on the anvils bringing the evil wizardry in a reprise on the opening track “Wizard of the Vortex”. The following song, and the album’s title track, “Sweet Evil Sun” has stomping riffs and trademark rhythm guitars providing an ominous tone to the wicked music. Lars Johansson entwines crafty guitar solos through catchy melodic passages that are beautifully sung by Johan Langquist before the drums gallop to a crushing tempo.

Musically, the newest album is the band’s most substantial output since the 2012 album “Psalms for the Dead”, there is something very impressive about the guitars that certainly churn out proper crushing doom metal riffs. Johan’s vocals have somehow changed through time but they still possess a certain charisma, where on “Battle Angel” you can hear the raw emotion of his ominous vocals filling the wall of sound. “Sweet Evil Sun” is a heavy bombardment of powerful riffs while the songwriting is crafty and emphasizes sheer heaviness, everything feels dynamic where the guitars blend a contemporary riff-craft from the classic tomes of Black Sabbath.

Black Butterfly” might be somewhat of an unusual track title, but Candlemass turns its work of art into some sinister heavy grooves, each riff is well placed and the towering vocals give the song a darker and ominous tone. The solo midway through the track shows the quality of the composition. Apparently the new album continues to move through many dark passages, “When Death Sighs” demonstrates new abilities to improvise with the somber lament-like vocals painting gloomy figures and tomb sculptures picturesque in my mind. Simultaneously the guitars create fabulous melodies amid the catchy organs sweeping like psalms of doom.

Sweet Evil Sun” evokes the inner spirit of Candlemass’ epic music, suddenly the solemnity of the grand majesty sets in motion with the track “Scandinavian Gods” cloaking the listener in awe with its immense heaviness and grandeur. The guitars shifts into steamroller-crushing riffs soaked in catchy leads, and choruses that invites a gloomy sense of dread blasted in the galloping drums. Riffs are menacing and rhythmic drum beats blooming with vehemence depicting a dreary apocalyptic feel. The guitar arrangements make up some complex melodies that will haunt your soul for days to come, the passion and the intensity are off the scale.

Johan Langquist offers plenty of dramatic vocals style on the album which shows his versatile skills. The transition to a classic doom on “Devil Voodoo” is a complex track that focuses on how melody and the acoustic guitar strings interrelate. The atmosphere from beginning to end emphasizes a tonal melody that mixes a crushing tempo as every instrument works together to create a sorrowful effect that seems to be repeated in “Crucified”. The song features some heavy guitar lines with riffs and drums moving at a trudging pace providing great dynamics with the bass guitar backing the guitars.

An eerie Hammond organ follows the riffs on the ominous track “Goddess” which has an epic quality of modern Candlemass. There are tons of guitar segments that are reminiscent of Black Sabbath. Although not all the songs of the album are equally the same, there are some moments when the music lacks epic majesty, in a way “Sweet Evil Sun” is a step up in the right direction.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 9/10

The 13th record manages to deliver plenty of emotive melodies and crushing riffs that will appease the demons inside your head but this time Candlemass tightens its grasp on traditional doom and heavy metal. This is a superb record that has its slow classic ballad songs and atmosphere of doom metal.

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