Chapter VI

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The last Candlemass outing that includes contributions from key, if not mostly original members, Chapter VI signaled the end of anything significant from Sweden's doom metal pioneers. The departure of vocalist Messiah Marcolin was perhaps good for the outfit's morale; however, his absence left the group without their most musically defining element. Marcolin's replacement, Tomas Vikström, does a decent job, but the unique delivery of his predecessor is indeed missing on this and every subsequent Candlemass offering. Encouraging tracks like "Where the Runes Still Speak" and "Julie Laughs No More" almost capture the gloomy aesthetic of Candlemass' better, late-'80s work. For the most part, though, Chapter VI is directionless when compared to earlier Candlemass material. Guitarist Lars Johansson tries mightily to spice things up with some fine performances, and his bandmates generally follow suit, but the occasionally above-average playing never makes up for an overall musical lethargy and the noticeable absence of Marcolin.

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