Austria never ceases to amaze me with the black metal that comes forth from the bowels of that country and Vienna’s Candles and Wraiths is probably one of my favorites right now to come from the depths. The trio is a highly talented young band playing a very epic and unique brand of symphonic black metal. Having been formed in 2015, the group can look back at their two released singles before they came around the corner with their full length debut called Candelabia. An epic journey with a lot of twists and turns is what potential listeners can expect and I have to say I am deeply impressed by the level of professionalism and enthusiasm that has been put into the creation of this album.
The outstanding guitar work is complemented with superb drum patterns and a predominant rasping growl of a delivery that ascends to a blackened gurgling scream, delivering clarity of the lyrical content, allowing you to follow the dark story line. While there are a lot of blastbeats and a good use cymbals, the music never sounds too chaotic or disharmonic. The album is not just a lot of technical prowess and tremelo riffs but incorporates perfectly laid orchestral melodies. While the fast and furious tremolo lines are in full effect and often accompanied by blazing blastbeats, it feels as if the symphonic details have thoughtfully been placed as an important factor of each track. Sometimes those elements are used more subtly creating an eerie and melancholic atmosphere in the background.
Probably the most important fact here is that Candles and Wraiths are really genius songwriters. The sequences of the various sections have been chosen in a way to make each track feel diversified and unique. There are classic verse-chorus parts but also extended soloing sections. Epic sounding samples and orchestral melodies are used as well as dramatic interludes and some choir sections. In the end, each song has it’s own character and looking at the album as a whole, one really gets the feeling of a story that is told through the music. Tracks like Nightmares on Forsaken Soil and Beneath Cathedral Walls are prime examples of the intricate song writing this group has produced.
Candelabia is definitely a solid, if not flawless debut full length. Everything is laid out in the open and transparent here with all instruments having a breath of life and backing the grim tales this album tells. If you are a fan of Carach Angren, Anorexia Nervosa, Cradle of Filth and symphonic black metal done right, then this deserves a spot in your collection.
Overall Score: 10/10
Review by Neil Andersen