Album: "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus"
Style: Read the title - Epic Doom Metal ffs
Release date: 1986-06-10
2. Demons Gate
3. Crystal Ball
4. Black Stone Wielder
5. Under the Oak
6. A Sorcerer's Pledge
If there's one album cover that can be considered classic and iconic, it is this one. The story about the misprint that inverted the colors is also legendary. But it is actually good looking? The idea to put a cross through a skull with small devil horns is good. If you were around during the mid-80's, it would probably be considered great. But I am not so satisfied with the overall execution - the colors is one thing, but the skull itself looks a bit weird to say the least. Also those horns are too small. But as I said, it's so god damned iconic it's almost ridiculous.
1. Solitude (05.37)
From the beginning acoustic guitars to the soul-crushing doom that soon enters the frame of sound - this is pure classic Candlemass in it's truest form. The lyrics reeks of misery and despair and no one else but Johan Längqvist could have done them justice. Forget that fat monk - this is without a doubt the greatest vocalist ever to front this band. An instant classic that does nothing wrong.
2. Demons Gate (09.12)
The song begins with a down-pitched voice, giving an "evil" speech that sounds quite ridiculous (even mastermind Leif Edling says so himself). But once that's over, a truly epic doom metal song takes form and never once during it's 9+ minute would I dream of looking at the time. Unlike some of the contemporary doom bands at the time (St. Vitus, Pentagram etc.) Candlemass don't look to the blues for it's inspiration, but rather at classic heavy metal which actually makes this album sound quite unique.
3. Crystal Ball (05.21)
From it's opening lines, via the highly addictive chorus and all the way to the the bitter end - "Crystal Ball" is another gem of epic doom metal-perfection. I really don't know what else to say here but I really like the fact that the band has managed to stop the song when it should be over, rather than drag it out for 5 minutes more just because we're talking doom metal. It's really impressive considering their young age at the time.
4. Black Stone Wielder (07.36)
This is mainman Leif Edling's story about the three wise men and how they discovered the son of God, with his own little twist to it. Really interesting lyrics to say the least.
I love this song because it's melodies are just ace and then the vocal melodies are even more addictive. Also, this one manages to be a little more dynamic when the band ups the tempo. And speaking of melodies, can you hear which classic Christmas carol they've ripped off completely?
5. Under the Oak (06.55)
Though there's absolutely nothing wrong with this song (or the 1989 version of it) it's one of my least favorites on "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus", simply because the rest of the songs are so damn strong. But it's still better than anything they did between 1990-2005.
6. A Sorcerer's Pledge (08.20)
During one of the behind-the-scenes from the band's "20 Year Anniversary Party"-DVD, guitarist Mats "Mappe" Björkman gets the question which his all-time favorite Candlemass-song is and he answers by saying "A Sorcerer's Pledge" - because it has everything. And I really couldn't agree more.
The song is divided into three parts, the first one beginning with acoustic guitars and Längqvist's enormously haunting voice. They then add crushing guitars for some doom metal deluxe and later morphing it into the fastest part of the album - I really love that part. In the end, they slow things down again and we have gone back full circle since "Solitude".
And to further compare this one with the opening track, this is easily a full-score spot-on song. In other words; the crowning jewel in the band's entire discography.
The band never outdid their first ever album from 1986, even though they did other good albums - the follow-up "Nightfall" from 1987 and 2009's "Death Magic Doom" for example. "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is a solid album from start to finish and there's no fillers whatsoever. It is a prime example of a band's youthful innocence and ambitions that really came into fruition. I cannot really give anything below a full score.
"Hate is my only friend, pain is my father
Torment is delight to me
Death is my sanctuary -
I seek it with pleasure
Please let me die in solitude"