1. Blood Curse
2. Pain and Rapture
4. To Praise, to Bless, to Preach
5. Militis Fidelis Deus
Ah, the children of Candlemass, what beautiful music they make! Evangelist lack the prog edge of Solitude Aeturnus or Forsaken, or the raw Satanic appeal of the lesser-known Angel Of Damnation, instead channeling the lugubrious essence of classic Candlemass songs like ‘Solitude’ and ‘Samarithan’. When I heard their debut album, ‘In Partibus Infidelium’ I was struck by the skill, expressiveness and melodic beauty of the lead vocals, very much in the tradition of Johan Langqvist, rather than Messiah Marcolin’s more tremolo-laced vocals, as much as the lead guitar work. In that sense, the band was able to compensate to some extent for the stately majesty that characterizes their songs – a stateliness that verges on the static, without transcending into the profound dolor of funeral doom.
It’s much the same story on the follow-up, the somewhat cheesily-titled ‘Doominicanes’. The songs here are filled with great, long-lined, melancholy melodies, extended and well-crafted guitar solos and emotive, tuneful vocals. The only problem is that there isn’t very much distinctive here – there are few melodies and hooks that stand out, and very little change in pace from song to song, leave alone within songs. In this sense, they may described as aiming for the monumental pacing of Reverend Bizarre, but the more bleak, stripped-down riffing style practiced by that band was a better fit for this approach, lending it a befitting, bottom-heavy heaviness. This kind of epic doom, however, is more overtly rooted in classic metal, especially NWOBHM, and as such it needs a wider dynamic range to bring out its full scope.
There are some highlights – notably ‘Deadspeak’ which has a few interesting melodic turns and a relatively catchy chorus. The last song, ‘Militis Fidelis Deus’ also reaches a plateau of epic grandeur. And none of the other material is ever less than pleasing in its musicianship and melody. It’s just not varied enough or impactful enough in its sameness of effect. It’s a great album for the die-hard traditional doom addict who needs something to listen to in between revisiting the greats of the genre, but this group of doom evangelists need to add a few new strains to their psalm book if they want to make a convert of me.