The Doomsday Kingdom
Candlemass founder finds redemption from debilitation
Tony Iommi aside, no one has contributed more to the sound and success of doom metal than Leif Edling. As the founder and creative driving force behind Candlemass, the Swedish bassist has long been acknowledged as an inspirational icon, but when he was diagnosed with an extreme form of chronic fatigue syndrome in 2013, it looked very much as if his extraordinary career was about to grind to a halt. Nothing, however, can stop this man from writing riffs. As he gradually returns to a state of health more conducive to making music for a living, Leif has found time to not only complete a third Avatarium album but also the debut album by his new band, The Doomsday Kingdom. An out-and-out salute to the glory days of the early 80s, when a Dio-led Sabbath and NWOBHM reigned supreme, the quartet’s eponymous debut album is thunderous proof that even a debilitating illness will not stop Leif from following his creative urges.
“Being really sick, I could not watch TV or sit in front of a computer or read books, so I needed some musical therapy!” he states, cheerily. “I could pick the guitar up and work on new riffs, 10 minutes here and half an hour there. So from there it all started, back in 2014, and it took two years until everything was in place. I was in bed for the better part of three years, but now I’m getting better and I’m super-happy with this record.”
A typically epic and memorable barrage of prime metal riffing and balls-out melodrama, The Doomsday Kingdom is guaranteed to delight fans of Leif’s work, while the added presence of Wolf vocalist Niklas Stålvind should ensure that some younger metalheads get in on the action, too.
“JB from Grand Magus was actually supposed to sing on the record,” Leif explains. “We’re good friends but he couldn’t do it because he was busy with Magus. I thought of Niklas immediately and I just hoped he wouldn’t be too busy, too! But Wolf were in limbo and Niklas was feeling a little burned out. He brought some vitality and freshness to the whole thing, that early metal vibe, and he was born to sing this stuff! It was fantastic to work with someone so enthusiastic and talented. He fits like a glove.”
Another monstrous triumph in a career full of them, The Doomsday Kingdom’s debut crackles with an intensity that suggests that Leif’s health issues are beginning to recede in his artistic rear- view mirror. Ultimately, the restorative powers of the riff have pushed this legend towards a miraculous and very welcome recovery.
“During my sickness I went to the catacombs in Paris and I got some inspiration there. That grew into the thought: ‘Do I have the energy to start something new?’” he recalls. “Luckily, the answer was yes! I also got married and we had a son, so that helped, too. It’s just typical life stuff. You have a lot of bad and a little bit of good, ha ha!”
Who are they?
Line-up: Leif Edling (bass), Niklas Stålvind (vocals), Marcus Jidell (guitar), Andreas Johansson (drums)
Sounds Like: The best of metal’s 80s heyday filtered through a prism of doom.
For Fans Of: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch
Current Release: The Doomsday Kingdom (Nuclear Blast, 2017)
Acephalix bassist turns back the clock
Born in Florence, Luca Indrio decided to move to the Bay Area on the US West Coast nine years ago, as he puts it, “to be in a place with a strong music culture and see what happens.” He wasted no time first joining Oakland’s Acephalix, whose two albums on Southern Lord successfully fused a crust sensibility with a mean, Swedish-tinged death metal edge. But it still wasn’t enough, so besides also enrolling in Vastum and putting together the short-lived Lawless, he formed Necrot in 2011 after meeting 19-year-old punk drummer Chad Gailey.
“I really wanted a band where I could write most of the music but also sing,” Lica explains. “We really clicked with Chad right away so I just wanted to play with him anyway. But whereas Acephalix was very influenced by the Scandinavian sound, Necrot is more American-sounding.”
Initially, Acephalix’s Kyle House was the original guitarist, but he quickly took off and the band recorded two demos as a duo before Sonny Reinhardt from Saviours joined for the third one, The Abyss, “a great step forward” being Chad’s verdict.
After a compilation of all their early material last year, their first album proper, Blood Offerings, makes no secret of its love for classic death metal. But did you say old school? “There is more to it than just three dudes playing songs when you play this kind of music. And when people say that you’re ‘old school’, what they really mean is that Necrot reminds them of the classic real ‘old-school’ bands who made the genre worth listening to.”
While all three members are involved in other bands – Chad also doing drums for Rude and Mortuous – they’re dead set about Necrot being their main band. “We have about 70 shows coming up from now to November all across the United States, Europe and the UK, “says Chad. “We’ve all chosen lifestyles that allow us to go on tour and practise regularly and make our music our reason to be.”
Who are they?
Line-up: Luca Indrio (vocals, bass), Sonny Reinhardt (guitar), Chad Gailey (drums)
Sounds Like: Classic, straightforward death metal, but with a DIY punk ethos.
For Fans Of: Massacre, Bolt Thrower, Obituary
Current Release: Blood Offerings (Tankcrimes, 2017)
Canadians undergo lows and heights
Relative newcomers, having formed in 2014, Seer have already set out their stall as ones to watch in the doom scene. Across three conceptually connected releases, the latest being Vol. III & IV, the Vancouver, British Columbia quintet have created a dynamic niche by doling out distinctive sludge rock and acoustic folk, homogenous to their picturesque homeland.
“Where we live, it’s hard to escape the natural world,” says guitarist/songwriter Kyle Taveres, “and considering the price we pay to live here, if we aren’t embracing the natural beauty that surrounds us, we might as well move along to more affordable locales. In the time between our previous project and Seer, I really started taking advantage of my surroundings. It was during this time I realised I wanted to do my best to harness the power of the Pacific Northwest in the music I was writing. Being from the same bio-region as us, Wolves In The Throne Room did much to aid in that revelation.”
The rolling Goatsnake/Baroness-hewn riffs of Vol. III certainly bring to mind the sheer imposing scale of mountainous terrains, on top of which the anthemic vocals of Bronson Lee Norton – whose style recalls the gothic croon of Danzig – battle against cavernous roars. In contrast, the acoustic Vol. IV pacifies through its aquatic ebb and flow.
“If anything makes us stand out from the pack, it is our unwillingness to join it,” Kyle confirms. “That’s not to say we have any problem with bands who do an old thing well, we’re just not actively trying to fulfil every doom/sludge trope that has been standardised over the years. We take influence from bands like Thin Lizzy in the way they approached making music: peaks and valleys, songs that inspire varying emotional responses, and so on. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but to keep adding more mediocrity and sameness to a saturated genre would feel like a failure.
Who are they?
Line-up: BL Norton (vocals, acoustic guitar), M Norton (drums), P Sacco (guitar), J Campbell (bass, synths), K Tavares (guitars, vocals, synths)
Sounds Like: Acoustically cooled sludge.
For Fans Of: The Sword, Ancient VVisdom
Current Release: Vol. III & IV: Cult Of The Void (Art Of Propaganda, 2017)