Candle is one of many bands that aims to replicate the magic of legendary heavy metal singer King Diamond. With a focus on musical theatrics courtesy of creepy themes, “The Keeper’s Curse” is meant to be a holistic experience, rather than simply a collection of songs. All the tropes are present on this record from the use church bells to the high-pitched wails, to an increased emphasis on lead guitar playing. Candle knows what made King Diamond great, and they do an admirable job replicating it.
One of the more interesting facts about this band is that their lead singer is Erik Nordkvist, from the first Blazon Stone record. Even though it’s clearly the same singer on both albums, it isn’t particularly noticeable unless you’re listening with this in mind. His performance on “The Keeper’s Curse” is far more varied. His normal singing voice is in the upper range, but to truly channel King Diamond, he needs to reach another octave entirely at times. Similarly, he also resembles a much more animated character on occasion. The result is quite mixed; sometimes it works but there are a number of very awkward vocal lines on “The Keeper’s Curse”, moreso due to execution than actual melodies. In fact, one of the truly brilliant things about the record is the fact that nearly every line feels unique. Candle is very adept at crafting vocal patterns, and it helps to keep this record going even in less musically advanced moments.
“The Keeper’s Curse” is fairly consistent throughout, but there is a noticeable uptick in quality at both the beginning and end of the record. The biggest highlight is “No Peace For My Soul”, which opens with riffing that almost competes with the early Mercyful Fate records. Other winners include “Light At The End”, which is the perfect example of the aforementioned great vocal pattern/awkward execution in its chorus, as well as the ripping opener “The Secret”. Aside from these tracks, much of “The Keeper’s Curse” is your standard heavy metal fanfare with a wild madman aggressively singing at you. In the realm of King Diamond worship, it isn’t the best, nor the worst, but certainly amongst the more faithful.
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“Light At The End”
“No Peace For My Soul”
3.8/5 or 76%.