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Candelabrum – Transmutations

candelabrum – transmutations


Two years after the release of ‘Nocturnal Trance’ through Hells Headbangers, the Portuguese flagship of Lo-Fi Black Metal returns with their fourth full-length album. Before we dive into a deeper analysis of the music, it is just as remarkable to see that the band returned to their home turf of Altare Productions, the label that was responsible for releasing the majority of their early releases, as it was that the band signed to Hells Headbangers in the first place. Where Hells Headbangers is, obviously, a much larger entity in the global Extreme Metal scene, it has a non-existent tradition in Lo-Fi Black Metal, it was therefore a total surprise to see the Portuguese sign a deal with the American juggernaut but it is needed to say that ‘Nocturnal Trance’ did not sound anything different from the tried-and-tested Candelabrum formula, still, it somehow feels good to see the band return to Altare Productions.

On first glance, ‘Transmutations’ is logical continuation of the concept that Candelabrum is built upon. The title and the cover art fits perfectly within the line that was out after the bands earliest steps, it is all about opposing and contradicting worlds of darkness and light, life and death (see the black/white covers) and the transition between those two (doors, portals and the illustrious figure going from one to the other side). With that observation, without even listening to ‘Transmutations’, it is safe and reassuring to state that the band has once again not strayed from its musical and conceptual path.

A striking difference, when comparing ‘Transmutations’ to the preceding ‘Nocturnal Trance’, is that on these new recordings the band went back to their (even more) lo-fi roots. Although it didn’t sound polished or overproduced at all, ‘Nocturnal Trance’ was poured in a clearer sounding production. That slightly cleaner sound was not something that bothered or took much away from the band’s musical intentions, in fact it felt like a logical step in their development as a band. But, when listening to ‘Transmutations’ it become evident that the band’s strength definitely lies within the murkier territories of lo-fi Black Metal. The grainy guitars do form a beautiful contrast to the moody humming keyboards, together forming that trancelike soundscape that enchanted me from the first time I heard ‘Necrotelepathy’ back in 2016.

Although the band took a step back to a more oppressing approach, sound wise, they also chose to add a few new musical components. There is a bit more melody as well as some almost ritual/martial rhythms that do give the album a slightly more dynamic character. Good example of this little more versatile sense of song writing is found in ‘Communicating Through Dreams And Nightmares’, a song that not only symbolizes a subtle musical shift but even more so the band’s spiritual concept. But also a track ‘On Haunted Hallways’ holds a little surprise with a admiring sense of Heavy Metal-based song crafting.

It is impressive to hear that with just only delicate little changes in their musical concept, Candelabrum manages to stay within their self-defined framework yet never seem to be really repeating themselves. ‘Transmutations’ definitely is another work of art, proving the band is still at the top of their native Black Metal scene.


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