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Review of the Album "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" by Candlemass

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


A Special Debut Album for Sweden's Candlemass

Candlemass is one of the oldest Swedish metal bands in existence that I always knew about yet never really listened to until 2021 which may be hard for some of us to believe. This is the same Swedish band that once had Michael Amott as a member for a short time. Their debut album which came out in 1986 called Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is described as having operatic style vocals with heavy guitar riffs. Vocalist Johan Langquist who was only a session vocalist at this time did not become an official Candlemass member until 2018. Upon listening to this album for the first time I thought to myself that King Diamond is going to have some competition here. This album began the style of epic doom metal which the band is considered for having founded.

A Setback for the Band Candlemass?

However, the band ended up being dropped from Black Dragon Records because of the album doing so poorly in terms of sales. However, this debut was met with much positive praise and acclaim as it has become a sort of “cornerstone” of the doom metal genre.

"A Sorcerer's Pledge

About the Songs in the Debut Album of Candlemass

The opening song called “Solitude” lyrically is about a person that is so depressed that he wants life to end for him. He is waiting to be free from this Earthly life. This debut with a rather strange title very much does have a doom metal feel to it while still having melodic guitar play. “Demons Gate” with its exotic guitar play lyrically is about the pathway to hell as there are references to the Styx River and Hades. “Crystal Ball” lyrically is pretty self-explanatory here as the tradition has it in fantasy related games and cartoons if you gaze into a crystal ball you have the chance to see what it holds for your future. Listening to the beginning of the song “Under the Oak” with that mid-tempo guitar it reminds me of what Japanese thrash metal band Sacrifice would do with their 1987 studio album Crest of Black. This 5th song may be one of those that is overlooked for the first three songs. This one is a hybrid of doom metal combined with your standard heavy metal.

"Under the Oak"

Final Thoughts About This Special Doom Metal Album

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus in spite of the fact that it has only six songs on it is considered a full-length album which is one of those unusual things in music. But the slow, heavy guitar work along with Johan’s powerful lead vocals make this one of the best albums of 1986. Is this a better studio album than Don’t Break the Oath? Who can really say that but nonetheless this is a great way for me to get used to this Swedish doom metal band. For the time that this album was released, it was different in style compared to other European metal bands. For 1986 standards, an album like this one was probably considered unique as well as the obvious different. For 1986 standards, an album like this one was probably considered unique as well as the obvious different. This is not your typical doom metal album that has these sorrowful style of vocals meant to depress you nor is it one of those softer doom metal albums. It is a refreshing mix of opera style vocals and very impressive lead guitar work which set the standard for the 1980s even though the album did not have that breakneck kind of speed that defined so many bands of that decade.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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