by Brenda McTaggart
– Columnist —
The Doomsday Kingdom is the brainchild of Leif Edling (or Doomfather as he prefers), the multi-talented musician and mastermind behind Candlemass and Avatarium. After a severe case of chronic fatigue syndrome two years ago, Edling took a well-earned side step from the limelight to rest. But his creative side would not stay quiet, and an urge to craft again took over. From his couch, with a battered and trusty old acoustic guitar, he created something even more ingenious. The Doomsday Kingdom and the EP, Never Machine, was born in a time of medicinal healing and creativity that probably added to the delivery of four atmospheric, haunting and exquisite tracks.
Never Machine originally was self-released and as a 12” Demo EP on vinyl in March 2016, but after the surprise signing to German Label Nuclear Blast, it has now been re-released. The 7” EP now has different artwork but the same four songs remain. So if you are a collector, you will have both awesome records.
Inspiration comes from many directions and in many forms. In the case of Never Machine, Edling wanted to take the listener on a journey to the bottom of the Parisian Catacombs. And he very successfully does, as the opener and title track “Never Machine,” bellows in deep and low with a melodic flow of bottom-end bass and a hypnotic riff. This tune tugs at the pit of the stomach in a foreboding and powerful manner. The raw production is reminiscent of early ‘80s Metal but is cleverly delivered in a modern way, especially in the epic solo, in which the delicate distant vocals feel like butterfly wings whispering in the background.
Edling’s workaholic nature definitely comes across in this record. The intensity of the riffs crawling out from each composition is pure genius, so after the first listen, you may hit the repeat button without even thinking. The next track, “The Sceptre,” has this effect. Here, Edling tells the story of a war between two queens, accompanied by a booming bass drum, as tones of bleakness and death approaching cause the heart to flutter slightly. Then the distressed vocals break in, desperate and beckoning. This song definitely has that something that is so comforting yet has an enchanting and eerie ambiance.
“Zodiac City” arrives on gentle and alluring guitar tones, tinged with sweetness and velvet vocals from Niklas Stalvind (Swedish band WOLF) before the realization that this tune is actually about the infamous serial killer in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and it sends involuntary shivers down the spine. Adding to that ‘70s theme are echoes of early Black Sabbath, laying weight to the enormity of this track.
However, no Doom Metal record would be complete without a seriously haunting ballad. The final track, “The Whispering,” is beautifully sung by Edling and more than fills this void, and it quite honestly could melt a heart of stone. The ghostly and passionate crooning is felt deeply throughout the song.
Edling had this to say about his record, “Never Machine is Metal from the catacombs, the way it should be,” and so the unmistakable undertones of something unnerving comes across in Never Machine. The EP is a captivating listen and a beautiful journey for fans of the Doom Metal genre. Having said that, for anyone new to Doom Metal, this EP would make a wonderful introduction to a whole new way of listening to and broadening your very metal horizons.
The future is looking bright for Edling, as he continues his healing process through the nurturing and developing of The Doomsday Kingdom. The four excellent songs from Never Machine are most definitely enough to whet the appetite of loyal and new fans, alike. The Doomsday Kingdom will be releasing a debut full-length album in March 2017. This will be one album that should take prize position on any Metal-loving fan’s shelf if this EP is anything to go by.
Genre: Doom Metal
Leif Edling – Bass
Niklas Stalvind – Vocals
Marcus Jidell – guitars
Andreas (Habo) Johansson – Drums
Label: Nuclear Blast
Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10