Leif Edling, undisputed father of DOOM, takes his funereal elegies of torment and despair to another level with this sophomore release from Candlemass. This album could not have topped its predecessor no matter what. Instead, Leif evolves his musical creation and adds some faster tempos to the mix, thereby expanding the boundaries of DOOM.The song titles should paint this album’s feel quite well. Gothic Stone is just some weird sound effect which only lasts a few seconds before “Well of Souls” kicks in and launches this musical hearse into the abyss. “Well” is a little faster than what we’re used to hearing from them at this point, but no less doomy, and really sets the whole tone of the album: heavier and faster. The guitar tone is more refined, unbelievably heavier than before, and ear splitting. New singer Messiah Marcolin hits the notes as he should and has a great voice, but seems a little overwrought in places. New lead guitarist Lars Johanson adds a shred factor which the band had not had before, and is more than welcome.Leif’s lyrics really shine on this release, specifically on the demands-your-attention tales on “At the Gallow’s End” and “Samarithan”, and “Mourner’s Lament” tragically defines the feelings of loss upon the death of a loved one.”Bewitched” I believe to be the strongest song among this batch of classics–no easy feat–with its undeniably classic driving doom riffs and catchy chorus.The Bonus Disc also holds a rare gem: “Battlecry”. How this did not progress beyond demo form I cannot guess. Fortunately for us, Leif’s demos are always of such good quality that they could easily pass as properly produced recordings. This song is the definition of “lost classic”, and again fast paced doom weaving a tale of Crusaders in battle.I can completely understand how this recording can be widely acknowledged as the band’s best. While I don’t agree with that assessment entirely, I fully recommend it as a companion piece to Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. Those two albums show the Master Leif Edling as he creates and redefines his own musical genre.