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A long time in the planning, the who's who of Swedish doom and black metal have finally released their third album in a part-time career which so far spans nine years. With it they have moved past being "the other Candlemass", something which wasn't helped when Candlemass practically recorded their entire King of The Grey Islands album with Krux singer Mats Levén before appointing Robert Lowe for the final studio version, and have reached the sound which the make-up of the band suggests they always should have had - that is to say a mixture of Candlemass and keyboardist Carl Westholm's Jupiter Society. The first two Krux albums are doom metal masterpieces, with the low-end riffs offset against Levén's higher vocals perfectly, but there was always the danger that they simply sounded like Candlemass with Levén singing. Indeed the recordings Candlemass made with him (available in the Doomology box set) sounded superb. Now, greater use of Westholm's playing, and more variety in the riffs coming from Opeth's Fredrik Åkesson and Vicious Art's Jörgen Sandström, fully achieves their identity. Some things have clearly come from bassist Leif Edling's Candlemass writing sessions. Emily Payne (And The Black Maze), for example, has Robert Lowe's vocal motifs all over it and really sounds like it was intended for him, and there's plenty of evidence of Edling's formerly primary band (they are set to retire in 2012) scattered across other tracks as well. But the most important part of this record is the genuine emergence of Krux's own sound, with spacey keyboards and varied riffs splashed all over tracks like The Hades Assembly, the title track, and 10-minute epic Prince Azaar And The Invisible Pagoda. The Death Farm is a little too cliché, but Small Deadly Curses and A Place of Crows are prime Krux and could slot into either of the previous two albums. This is a record that is guaranteed not to disappoint Krux fans, and hopefully will see a lot more touring from the band than before.
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