Nuclear Blast have decided to celebrate Robert Lowe's ongoing tenure as vocalist of Doom stalwarts Candlemass with a package called "Ashes To Ashes", the title probably inspired from the lyrics of 'Solitude'. All at one gulp the Doom aficionado can devour 2 DVDs featuring 2 gigs performed in Sweden and Greece. Amongst other features also thrown in is an interview with the band as well as a (audio) CD recording of the gig in Sweden. Unfortunately we at Power Of Metal.DK have only been supplied with the latter CD so the tone of this review is being more descriptive than critical.
Solitude Aeternus - with whom Lowe still sings - have always been one of my favourite Doom bands together with Candlemass but I find it hard to get used to the vintage Candlemass material sans Messiah Marcolin's irreplaceable voice. Having said that, the rendition of 'Sorcerer's Pledge' actually sounds quite good, although it was Johan Langquist that had originally recorded the vocals tracks for that song. In this CD there's also a cover of Rainbow's 'Kill The King' adding a spice of variety to set-list.
As suggested above, both set-lists are mainly focused on Candlemass' 2 most recent studio albums (the ones with Mr Lowe on vox): last year's "Death Magic Doom" and "King Of The Grey Islands" of 2007. In all this time the band's line-up has been practically immutable and the band members seem to have developed a solid chemistry.
I have always asserted that gigs are ephemeral in nature and, consequentially, the phrase 'live recording' becomes an oxymoron. Meanwhile I concede that for fans of a particular band, live albums (especially visual ones) represent potentially valid opportunities for these fans to experience their idols in a different setting. In this context "Ashes To Ashes" should be a worthy acquisition for most Doom Metal fans, certainly for the Candlemass faithful.
For the record, there's also a double-vinyl version of "Ashes To Ashes" available in limited numbers... which I'm guessing will all go quickly. Doom fans somehow seem to have a particular penchant for LPs.