Over twenty albums and thirty years after he made his debut on the first Nemesis album in 1984, doom maestro Leif Edling shows precious few signs of slowing down with his newest incarnation, The Doomsday Kingdom. By God, he’s releasing two albums within the space of a couple of months this year (the superb Avatarium being the other band), which is an admirable work ethic to behold if nothing else.
It’s just that… there’s an awful lot of predictability about The Doomsday Kingdom. Of course, this is heavy metal we’re talking about, a genre perhaps above all in the welcoming home of the tried and tested, but that doesn’t really compensate for the fact that, throughout the duration of this album, you’ll get the sense that you know what’s coming next.
And generally what’s coming next is a huge, Sabbathian riff. The Doomsday Kingdom is not an unenjoyable way to while away fifty two minutes, you understand – there are simply too many top notch musicians involved for this to be ever less than a compelling listening experience; However your overall appreciation of the album will be predicated on just how much ‘heard it all before’ you’re able to put up with.
Me? I’ve got a pretty high threshold for that sort of thing, and the opportunity to listen to the six string work of Marcus Jidell (for me the best modern metal guitarist currently plying his trade alongside fellow Swede Michael Amott) is always something to be relished. Add to that Niklas Stålvind’s at times Kai Hansenesque vocal contributions and much of the material (especially the excellent Spoonful of Darkness and the dramatic, slightly proggy The Sceptre) is very listenable indeed, relying less on out-and-out adamantine bombast and more on songcraft than some of Edling’s other work down the years.
All told, this being a doom album, and the parameters of doom being what they are, you probably couldn’t have hoped for more from The Doomsday Kingdom as an album; Finely crafted, comfortingly (or annoyingly, the choice is yours) familiar and undoubtedly superbly executed by men who are true masters of their respective trades, this is heavy metal solidity personified.
The Doomsday Kingdom is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.