Doomsday Kingdom, The
The Doomsday Kingdom
Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Andrew McKaysmith
I opened up the promo files to the self-titled album from The Doomsday Kingdom not expecting much. This is another review where I had no background on the artist. What a bloody surprise I was about to receive!
The Doomsday Kingdom is the new project for critically revered bassist and songwriter, Leif Edling. Edling may need some introduction for the uninitiated. As the chief songwriter and captain of Candlemass, he is responsible for some of the greatest heavy metal ever recorded. It's a big statement, but when your band's catalogue includes the albums Epicus Doomicus Metalicus ('86) and Nightfall ('87) it's a thoroughly deserved acclaim.
I've not followed the man's exploits between and through Candlemass' various line ups, however a browse of Wikipedia entries under his name reveal a host of bands and artistic contributions. He has certainly kept up to date with the ever evolving trends and production techniques the past 30 or so years have offered.
If you are a fan of most of Candlemass' material, then you will love what Edling and company have done on The Doomsday Kingdom. There are parts of the album that remind me of the potential in a particular era of an influential post NWOBM outfit. I'll get to that shortly. First, why would you listen to The Doomsday Kingdom if Candlemass are still around?
The vocals of Niklas Stålvind are the crown jewel on this album. Thoroughly supported by the thick guitar of maestro Marcus Jidell (check out his resume for a seriously impressive list of contributions). Even without Edling's signature and brand I'd suggest that Stålvind is destined for big things. That could be The Doomsday Kingdom or elsewhere. Stålvind sounds like another excellent unsung metal vocalist, David Bower from the reactivated NWOBHM band Hell. I appreciate the reader may not be familiar with Hell but do check them out if you do end up listening to and liking The Doomsday Kingdom.
The advance tracks available via Apple music are an accurate representation of the album ("A Spoonful of Darkness" and "Hand of Hell"). For mine the highlight is "The Sceptre" with its "Reigning Blood" middle eight sounding even more ominous than the reference track.
Now. To what I was referring to earlier.
There was a period after the release of Countdown to Extinction ('92) up to and including Cryptic Writings ('97) that Dave Mustaine penned some the most stupendous riffs, musical passages, and vocal cadences ever released under the Megadeth moniker. Across this era there were also some heinous flaws that saw at least one of those albums barley listenable by today's standards. If Mustaine had reached out to Edling for a chat he would have obtained a soothsayer's opinion on the relationship between riffs and tempo. (He could also have steered well clear of Max Norman and Dan Huff...)
After the passage of time many aspects of a song are revealed as to where their most appropriate place would have been. Compared to their fate, results may often vary. Edling simply gets this relationship better than Mustaine or most others ploughing the genre as he seems to understand what sounds best well before the needle is first dropped on the finished product.
I've said in another review that great riffs simply aren't enough. That was in relation to a band ironically releasing an album on the same label at the same time as The Doomsday Kingdom. One thing I can say positively, great riffs and Leif Edling are a tremendous combination.