If this is truly, certainly, most definitely the final Candlemass album (the doom-metal progenitors called it quits in both 1994 and 2002, only to reform both times), then the swan song on their swan-song release is "Black as Time," a middling, excessively lengthy number that features a 90-second spoken-word opening delivered by a gentleman who sounds like a barmy, untenured philosophy professor. You want to bow your head in remembrance of the Swedish doomsters, except that you're too busy snickering. Fortunately, the rest of this 11th studio release is a testament to the group's devotion to stellar, intricate songcraft. Built with seamlessly linked quiet/loud components, "Waterwitch" and the title track go from a whisper to a scream and back again. Bassist-songwriter Leif Edling pens lyrics that read like excerpts from a bad fantasy novel ("I travel with the dragon to learn and tame the beast/I rule the pyramids/There's magic in the East!"), but the theatrical, tendon-popping interplay of lead and rhythm guitarists Lars Johansson and Mats Björkman gives those words weight. On "The Sound of Dying Demons," singer Robert Lowe mewls over sinister, snail-paced rhythms; the effect is like watching blood ooze from a wound. Then, an orgasmic "To steal the light!" from Lowe, a titanic blast of guitars, and that wound becomes an amputation. It's grandiose, accomplished, and partly demented. This is how we want to remember Candlemass.