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CANDLEMASS - The Pendulum

Release date March 27/20 (Napalm)

These are indeed heady times for doom legends Candlemass after the return of original singer John Langquist and the release of the well-regarded The Door To Doom full-length last year. Striking while the iron is hot, the Swedish veterans have now released an EP (The Pendulum) containing demos of leftover tracks from last year's recording sessions.

Knowing this, I approached this with minimal expectations expecting some roughshod recordings of inferior tracks. The opening title track immediately proves me wrong, an uptempo stormer that recalls "Symptom of the Universe" if recorded by Dio-era Sabbath (or was that Heaven and Hell?). "Snakes of Goliath" follows in a more traditional snail pace, trudging towards a cliff like a track off of Mob Rules. Not only surprised by the quality of writing, I was also taken aback by the sound quality here. The "demo" tag applied to the songs on this EP is certainly misleading.

Three of the four remaining tracks are all short acoustic ditties similar to what Iommi would interject on all of those fabulous 70s Sabbath records, with "Aftershock" being an absolute fave where band leader Leif Edling subjects us to a woofer damaging bass solo. Rounding out the six-track, twenty minute release is "The Porcelain Skull", yet another memorable mid-tempo stomper with a great vocal performance from Langquist.

It's hard to fathom that these are rejected tracks. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

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