CANDLEMASS — Epicus Doomicus Metallicus

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CANDLEMASS - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus cover
4.15 | 57 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1986

Tracklist

1. Solitude (5:37)
2. Demons Gate (9:12)
3. Crystal Ball (5:22)
4. Black Stone Wielder (7:36)
5. Under the Oak (6:54)
6. A Sorcerer's Pledge (8:11)

Total Time: 42:54

Bonus disc: Live in Birmingham March 1988
1. The Well of Souls (7:25)
2. Demons Gate (9:02)
3. Crystal Ball (5:18)
4. Solitude (6:26)
5. Bewitched (6:24)
6. A Sorcerer's Pledge (10:53)
7. Black Sabbath Medley (6:12)

Total Time: 51:41

Line-up/Musicians

- Johan Längqvist / vocals
- Mats Björkman / guitars
- Klas Bergwall / guitars
- Leif Edling / bass
- Mats Ekström / drums

- Cille Svenson / additional vocals


Bonus CD line-up:
- Messiah Marcolin / vocals
- Mats Björkman / guitar
- Lars Johansson / lead guitar
- Leif Edling / bass guitar
- Jan Lindh / drums

About this release

Reissued in 2003 with a live bonus disc.

Thanks to Time Signature, Unitron for the updates

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CANDLEMASS EPICUS DOOMICUS METALLICUS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Conor Fynes
'Epicus Doomicus Metallicus' - Candlemass (8/10)

While Black Sabbath may have pioneered the doom metal, it was Candlemass that solidified the style of music we know today as doom. Granted, I was a little put off their debut album's title, but after listening, I have no doubt that 'Epicus Doomicus Metallicus' delivers what it promises.

This is considered a classic of the doom metal sound for very good reason; the band captures a dense, heavy song while simultaneously fueling it with intelligent, richly orchestrated songwriting. Led creatively by bassist Leif Edling, the music of Candlemass is slow, crushing, and emotionally charged; all now-fundamental tenants of the style. What I think distinguishes Candlemass' music from earlier work from bands like Sabbath however is that while Sabbath aimed for their brand of 'doom' to be evil and foreboding, Candlemass was among the first to get a little more introspective and melancholic. That's not to imply in the slightest that the sound here is anything but badass, however. Each of these six tracks lumbers on with thick guitar riffs, and a pummeling rhythm section that is offset only by the presence of some lighter synth arrangements that give the compositions an almost baroque quality to them. Best of all are the vocals of Johan Längqvist, who belts out powerfully, as if he was singing in an opera house. Längqvist manages to strike a nice balance between sounding badass and conveying emotion, and it turns out wonderfully.

The songwriting is confident and melodic, keeping in line with a fairly gloomy tone, but drawing out some surprisingly catchy choruses. 'Solitude' has an incredibly powerful hook, and works out to be the highlight of the album. There are not any weak tracks on the album, but I do feel with most of the tracks here that the choruses are made a little too important. The riffs are powerful, but when almost all of the hooks are thrown into the vocals, it can make for a one-sided memory, unless a listener is willing to sit down and let it truly sink in. As it stands, I have no problem calling 'Epicus Doomicus Metallicus' a classic. The style and direction of the band is very narrow however, and thus makes this album one I would only be able to appreciate fully when I am in the mood for something both gloomy and bombastic. Regardless, Candlemass introduced themselves in 1986 on a remarkable note.
Warthur
A foundational document of doom metal, the debut Candlemass album finds the band springing into being fully formed with an impressive command of their chosen style. Though they are not afraid to spruce up the compositions with some synthesiser embellishments here and there, the band know where their main focus needs to lie - heavy as hell Sabbath-inspired lyrics, wailing operatic vocals, and the nuanced songwriting of Leif Edling.

Solitude is an expression of unalloyed misery which is almost single-handedly responsible for the depressive direction of much subsequent doom metal, the concluding Sorcerer's Pledge finds Candlemass dabbling in the occult fantasy which would characterise most of their Messiah-era albums, and in between there's four doom classics which are just as influential (including Under the Oak, which would eventually be a cornerstone of the subsequent Tales of Creation concept album). Simply put, this album is 100% vital for anyone with even a passing interest in doom metal, particularly doom metal as it existed in the speed-obsessed 1980s.
The Angry Scotsman
1986. The metal scene is dominated by thrash. Metal was about speed, technicality and musicianship. 1986 was a major year for thrash, producing some of the genre's finest albums. The points mentioned above being showcased by Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica at the forefront.

Music, being an art, of course meant some had to take metal in a new direction. Metal has reached it's extreme by this point, in speed and technicality, so naturally it made sense to push it in the other extreme. Slow, heavy and simple.

Enter doom metal. Just like a decade earlier, metal had become a bit grandiose. Punk scaled it back, and now doom was here to bring metal back to its roots. That's how I found this album, one considered a pioneer of doom metal.

This albums strongest point is also its biggest flaw in my opinion, it starts off too strong!

Solitude, is a brilliant song. So brilliant, that the rest of the album which doesn't get very close feels like it falls off a cliff. If this song was put as the finale my god, would this have been an amazingly powerful album!

The opening track IS amazing. An acoustic intro quickly leads to some bleak lyrics, delivered in a clean, semi operatic almost wailing type style. A crushing, ominous roof soon kicks in with slow, pounding drums. This dirges on for the rest of the song, highlighted by superb vocals. The doom metal genre, (or at least what it should be) can be summed up in this song.

While today doom metal is simply slow and heavy, often with growled or harsh vocals, this song displays an actually ominous, bleak riff pushed along by simple yet powerful drum beat and clean vocals which truly convey a sense of despair. They are sometimes low, sometimes an operatic wailing and always powerful. Topped off with bleak lyrics. That is doom metal, bleak and a strong sense of despair.

The rest of the album is good, but simply doesn't compare to the opener. However, each is good and display a true blue doom metal style. As a drummer, I would like to note something perhaps not noticed...subtle drumming. Slow and simple, but also loud and pounding, perfect for the style and perfectly executed. Has a slight off kilter feel, with breaks and fills that are just quick enough to have energy but still slow, and choppy, enough to keep it doomy. Double bass, abused to death in thrash and modern metal, actually conveys an energy on this album, especially when compared to the rest of the drumming.

Sprinkle in some stand alone bass, and a little bit of haunting synth and you have a superb doom metal album. The title says it all, epic doom metal. Slow, heavy, and with an impending sense of doom. The riffing is great, perfect drumming, superb songwriting and vocals that convey true despair. "Solitude" is a masterpiece, with other standouts being "Crystal Ball" and "A Sorcerer's Pledge". Not like the doom metal bands of today which are usually some mid tempo, sludgy/stoner type thing with harsh vocals. This album conveys a true sense of doom. Bleakness and despair abound, but never sounds phony.

Classic Doom Metal album.

Four Stars
UMUR
"Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish doom metal act Candlemass. The album was released through Black Dragon Records in June 1986. Candlemass was formed out of the ashes of bassist/composer Leif Edling´s and rhythm guitarist Mats "Mappe" Björkman´s first act Nemesis. Nemesis released the "The Day of Retribution" EP in 1984 and some material from the Nemesis days were actually later reworked into Candlemass material.

Stylistically the music on "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is crushingly heavy, melodic and epic doom metal with a power metal edge. Right off the bat the music is instantly recognisable as the sound of Candlemass. This is not a warm-up debut album where the band had to find their way and develop their style. The songwriting is top notch, the musicianship are excellent on all posts and the sound production is heavy, powerful and raw, and brings out the best in the music. A quality album through and through.

Most people who know Candlemass output from the 80s tend to identify the band with the semi-operatic and distinct sounding voice and vocal delivery by Messiah Marcolin but on this debut album the vocals are handled by Johan Lanquist. While there are some similarities between the two singer´s voices, Johan Lanquist is not quite as distinct sounding as Messiah Marcolin but that´s not necessarily a bad thing as Messiah Marcolin´s vocal style can at times be an exhausting listening experience. To my ears Johan Lanquist is one of the strongest doom metal vocalists I´ve yet encountered. his vocal performance on "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" sat the bar for future doom metal vocalists. He has a strong voice, which he controls and varies to perfection. The heavy riffs, the heavy beats, the melodic guitar solos and the tight yet organic interplay are other highlights that deserve a mention.

The 43:02 minutes long album features 6 tracks of the finest melodic doom metal. The album opens with the strong "Solitude" and continues to impress all the way through. When I get to the 5th track on the album "Under the Oak" I´m simply ready to pick my jaw up from the floor, that´s how great the quality of the material is on "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus". The closing track "A Sorcerer's Pledge" makes the greatly enjoyable listening experience complete. There´s not a single sub par moment on the album.

"Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is a seminal melodic doom metal album from the 80s and fully deserves a 4.5 star (90%) rating. Unfortunately this incarnation of Candlemass had already broken up before the release of this album and it would take the remaining members the better part of a year to assemble a new lineup and record the band´s 2nd full-length studio album "Nightfall (1987)".
Time Signature
A metalhead's pledge...

Genre: doom metal

I was positively surprised when I heard this album for the first time. The first Candlemass record I heard was "Tales of Creation" which had the exceptional singer Messiah Marcolin doing the lead vocals, so for a long time I was actually sceptical about listening to Candlemass fronted by someone else for fear of disappointment. When I finally got my act together and gave "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" a listen, I was positively surprised. I really like Johan Längquist's vocals on this album, as there's a quality of desperation to his singing that neither Messiah Marcolin nor Rob Lowe possesses (just check out "Solitude"). I also like how he uses a lower range than his successors, which suits the dark and heavy music very well.

Musically, this album is pretty much the epitome of epic doom metal, drawing on the style invented by Black Sabbath. The riffs are generally heavy and melodic with a hint of melancholy to them. The sound production is big, and this is one album that didn't suffer from the ubiquitous reverb of 80s metal production; in this case, it just helped making the sound big and epic.

I think that all the tracks are good, but especially noteworthy are "Solitude", "Crystal Ball", and "Under the Oak".

This album should certainly appeal to fans of epic doom metal and fans of power metal might also like it for its epic qualities.

Members reviews

SilentScream213
Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. The name carries immense weight, even before hearing what lies therein. Often given the title of the greatest Doom Metal album of all time, bandleader Leif Edling carries the band with immense riff-writing prowess, and Johan Längqvist wields a powerful, epic operatic bellow. Here, he sets the now solidified trope of epic vocals in Trad Doom. His voice was very unique at the time, being capable hitting highs and lows and everything in between, but always remaining melodic and full of vibrato. The riffs here are reminiscent of early Sabbath, but heavier, groovier, and better.

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus has no shortage of quality riffs and vocals, and in fact, there is absolutely no filler to be found. Something Candlemass hadn’t expanded on for Doom, however, was the mood and atmosphere. The songs here remain rather generic worshippings of demons, god, and death in general, and apart from some nice acoustic sections, there is no variation in style or sound. Candlemass are no doubt gods at what they do, which is play straightforward Trad Doom. Unfortunately, to call this the greatest Doom Metal album of all time when the genre has expanded into something so much more than straightforward slow metal is rather unfounded.

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