Once upon a time, bands were only able to offer their new music, tours, live shows, and merchandise as ways for fans to connect. But, thanks to the growth in all things digital, there have never been more ways for musicians to reach out to fans. Candlemass are no exception. The Swedish doom metal band have released House of Doom, an online game and an accompanying soundtrack written by frontman Leif Edling and performed by the band. The relationship between gaming and metal bands is nothing new but the proliferation of the games as a way for fans to engage with bands in a different way, while still maintaining the values the brand exudes, is possible due to the increase in technology.
Finally, New Candlemass Music
Candlemass formed in 1984 and essentially created the musical subgenre of doom metal – their album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus gave its name to the genre. The band’s history has been a rocky one – with two breaks in their longstanding reign of metal. Following extensive exposure and a heavy tour schedule of the 1980s and 1990s, 1994 saw a three-year break before they resumed playing in 1997. Then, again, from 2002 to 2004, the band took another hiatus before returning for the past fourteen years to bring us the very best of doom metal and existential dread. Aside from their 30th anniversary 4-song EP Death Thy Lover in 2016, Candlemass continued to tour with their extensive back catalogue and churn out compilation hits since 2012 and Robert Lowe’s departure. So, the 2018 release of the House of Doom soundtrack was music to fans’ eagerly anticipating ears. The EP will join other fan favorites such as Tales of Creation as some of the band’s stand out work.
The House of Doom Game
The game itself is a five-reel slot with 10 fixed pay-lines, with themes and imagery congruent with the band and the ideas that doom metal conjures up. In keeping with the pace of the music, the gameplay is fast and the frenetic excitement that doom metal brings is present. As Betway shows, slots based on real people, especially musicians, are not a new phenomenon. Jimi Hendrix’s likeness was used for a slot game to evoke the peace and love of the hippy movement, while Motorhead and Guns N Roses have both leant their sounds and likeness to variations of the traditional slot game. Even Kiss have made the transition into the gaming world with their recognizable make-up and unique sound providing games developers ample material. Choosing a well-known artist as a front for the established gameplay allows new fans to experience the game while letting them engage with their favorite stars in a different arena. The game, soundtrack, and video will satiate fans of the longstanding rockers.
A New Candlemass Tour?
While House of Doom reverberates around doom metal fans’ sound systems around the world, the question many have is: when will there be a follow-up tour? Given that the band last had a full tour in 2017, and have instead opted for festivals and one-offs in 2018, the remaining three dates later in the year around Europe seem like a mealy-mouthed response to eager fans. But, the new game/album helps show fans that the band are still active and, while they may not be as open to touring as they once were, they are still finding new ways to give the people what they want. The band are keeping active in the metal community. June 2018 saw Candlemass team up with Ghost to perform a Metallica song at the Polar Music Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. While fans may have to wait for Candlemass to roll out the House of Doom tour, they could always perform a VR show such as the one that Slash aced in 2017.
House of Doom features only four tracks – but each pack a mighty punch. There is the multimovement genre-defining title track, the frenetic guitar-charged “Flowers of Deception,” renaissance ballad “Fortuneteller,” and “Dolls on a Wall.” The cryptic comments Edling made last year finally make sense. He said that the band were working on “a part of something bigger, something really cool that will take the band on another adventure.”
By developing a game and the accompanying soundtrack, Candlemass prove to us two things. Firstly, that they are musically back and better than ever – and the wait since 2012 (and 2016) was worth it. But, secondly, that we live in a different era than when they first started more than 30 years ago. The digital age allows sectors to merge and those who are known for one aspect of art and culture to transcend the lines and reach out to fans in a way that shows technology is a force for good.