"Documents of Doom" DVD (Escapi / Two Headed Dog; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter


When I had heard back in 2002 that Candlemass were reforming I was very pleased. Not that Candlemass is one of my favorite bands or anything it's just that I recognize that Candlemass have a unique sound and any chance for the band to continue that sound was welcome news. Of course, I received "Documents Of Doom" for review and what do I hear through the typical metal news outlets? That the reformed Candlemass was pretty much calling it quits for good.

Consequently, I let my review copy of "Documents Of Doom" languish in my stack of responsibilities for well over five months. And I never felt guilty about it. But it did bother me just a little that I felt no guilt. I guess the lack of guilt had something to do with the main portion of "Documents Of Doom" already being familiar to me. The concert featured on the first disc of "Documents Of Doom" is the concert that the band released as a live album in 1990. This performance is the widely considered 'legendary' performance at Fryshuset in Stockholm and it is a fine performance. The audio portion of this concert was something that I'd already heard time and time again. However, it was nice to see some of my favorite Candlemass songs such as "Dark Are The Veils Of Death" and "Demon's Gate" performed by the band at least once as their Stateside treks were rare to begin with and certainly unlikely even if a successful reunion had lasted. I should also mention that the DVD of the concert features the track "Bells Of Achron" which was omitted from the CD of the concert.

Overall, the multiple camera work on the 1990 concert is more than adequate. The footage is fairly balanced between stage-wide shots and close-ups. The cuts are neither too long nor too quick it's not too distracting to watch. It is interesting to see Messiah Marcolin in his monk habit it sticks in the mind well enough when you see still photos of it, but doubly so when you're watching live footage. The monk's habit is not nearly as iconic as Angus Young's schoolboy outfit, but is equally distinctive.

The second disc features documentary style footage from various gigs (both old and post-reunion). Aside from the performance footage the second disc moves far too slowly to keep my interest I still wonder who likes these documentary styled pieces. I always like a little mystery in the artists I know and love, and sometimes these types of documentaries take away some of that. I find that I have little time to watch DVDs I hardly watch Dark Tranquillity's "Live Damage," Opeth's "Lamentations," Metallica's "Binge And Burge" and Joe Satriani's "Live In San Francisco" and I love those artists. For some reason I'd rather just listen to a CD in my car. Unfortunately, "Documents Of Doom" does little to change my feelings on the subject of DVDs, but coming from me that's not too much of a negative. Of interest to fans of Candlemass will be the footage of the band's first gig, early gigs at world-famous venues like Hammersmith Odeon and the Dynamo Open Air festival, and the medley of Black Sabbath songs performed in San Francisco back in 1989.

Rather than "Documents Of Doom" being the beginning of something new for Candlemass it now serves as an epitaph. Fans of the band will certainly want to add "Documents Of Doom" to their collections especially since it is the classic line-up. It is a near essential requirement for any fan of the doom style. If you've never had any interest in the doom style generally or Candlemass specifically there is little here that will change your mind.

"Documents Of Doom" was produced by Candlemass.

Candlemass: Messiah Marcolin on vocals, Lars Johansson and Mats Bjorkman on guitars, Leif Edling on bass, and Jan Lindh on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.