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3.85 | 41 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1988


1. Mirror Mirror (6:16)
2. A Cry From the Crypt (7:25)
3. Darkness in Paradise (6:47)
4. Incarnation of Evil (7:18)
5. Bearer of Pain (7:22)
6. Ancient Dreams (7:04)
7. The Bells of Acheron (5:20)
8. Epistle No. 81 (4:37)
9. Black Sabbath Medley (6:16)

Total Time: 58:28

Bonus disc
1. Mirror Mirror (live) (5:20)
2. The Bells of Acheron (live) (5:01)
3. Bearer of Pain (live) (6:11)
4. A Cry From the Crypt (live) (3:36)
5. Interview (23:52)

Total Time: 44:02


- Messiah Marcolin / vocals
- Mats Björkman / guitars
- Lars Johansson / guitars
- Leif Edling / bass
- Jan Lindh / drums

About this release

Active Records, November 23rd, 1988

Reissued in 2001 by PowerLine records with a bonus disc.

Thanks to Time Signature, UMUR for the updates


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The followup to Nightfall is sustained by Messiah Marcolin's always exceptional vocal performance, but honestly doesn't match the standards of the preceding disc. It's the songwriting that's the issue; the riffs just feel a bit more tired-out and unoriginal this time around, as opposed to the operatic updating of the doom metal sound so brilliantly highlighted on the two preceding albums. The closing Black Sabbath medley, in particular, feels positively lightweight even as it tackles Sabbath's heaviest tracks. Then again, it's my understanding that the medley was an extra track tacked onto CD versions of the album to pad out the running time, but that doesn't excuse what came before it for failing to sustain my interest to the extent Nightfall did.
"Ancient Dreams" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish doom metal act Candlemass. The album was released through Active Records in November 1988. It´s the second album with Messiah Marcolin manning the microphone.

Stylistically the music on the album pretty much continues down the same epic doom metal path of "Nightfall (1987)". "Ancient Dreams" is actually very similar both in sound and style to "Nightfall (1987)" and in many ways they can be called sibling albums. That is in large part due to the distinct sounding semi-operatic vocal delivery of Messiah Marcolin, but the songwriting approach, the sound production and the high standard musicianship are also features that are similar on both albums.

The tempos used on the tracks are slow- to mid paced and generally crushingly heavy, but always with an emphasis on melody and memorability. There´s an epic atmosphere throughout the album and even when the band play more energetic like they do on tracks like "Mirror Mirror" and "Bearer of Pain", they are still pretty epic sounding.

"Ancient Dreams" is upon conclusion another "classic" doom metal release by Candlemass. It might be a bit too similar in sound and style to "Nightfall (1987)" and the overall quality just slightly lower than on it´s predecessor, but it´s still a high quality release and rated on it´s own a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fully deserved.
Time Signature
Darkness in paradise...

Genre: doom metal

Perhaps neither as outstanding nor as good as "Tales of Creation", "Ancient Dreams" or as hauntingly produced as "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is still a heavy and dark epic doom metal album which contains enough melody for there to be a general catchiness to it as in the case of the the chorus of "Mirror, Mirror". The combination of heavy power chord riffs, doom-laden one-string riffs and guitar harmonies and more upbeat parts constitutes variation. Even the upbeat tracks, like "The Bells of Acheron" (whose chorus is nothing less than amazing) are still heavy as hell.

Messiah Marcolin's operatic vocals are as enthralling as ever, and many of his vibrato-filled verse lines are as catchy as the chorusses are. While the music in itself with its harmonies and track lengths is quite epic, it cannot be denied that Marcilin's vocals certainly are a main contributor to the epicness of this album.

It should appeal to fans of epic doom metal and power metal alike. And fans of other types of doom metal might also find interest in this album, if nothing else then for its position in the history of doom metal.

Members reviews

Candlemass deliver the same kind of quality, riff-driven epic Trad Doom as always. Again with Messiah’s intense vocal prowess, the album retains the sound from Nightfall. Ancient Dreams tends to be seen as a drop in quality, but I instead see it as a trade off of sorts. There is no doubt that Ancient Dreams fails to deliver the same highs as Nightfall; however, it also does away with any sort of filler material, which dragged Nightfall down a bit. What remains is an extremely consistent album where every song is of equal quality – an odd exception being the title track, who’s riffs are just odd, and Messiah’s vocals don’t really play off them well.

All in all, another high quality Trad Doom album that should be given the same respect as the rest of Candlemass’ first four albums.

Ratings only

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  • ollischr
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  • mr.gonzoss
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