Candlemass: Epicus doomicus metallicus
21/10/05 || Lord K Philipson
I first heard the tune “Solitude” on a classic radio show called Rockbox here in Sweden. Anyone who’s been in the scene (aka “as old as I am”) as long as I have remembers this show with a smile and then some. For some reason I found this album in a small record store some time later and decided to buy it based solely on that song. After putting on the LP I was floored. Never had I heard something so heavy, so awesome and so completely different to what I normally listened to. Doom metal entered my life, and it pretty much started and ended with Candlemass when it comes to that genre. Sure, Solitude Aeternus tried but never came close to what Candlemass did on this album, though I prefer SA of today to Candlemass of today.
9. Mastermind Leif Edling really got his shit together here, to say the least. The tunes are so angst-ridden, so monumental and so groovy it’s scary. Some of the finest material ever spawned from Leif. There is something magic about this album. Have in mind it’s recorded in fucken 1986. I mean, shit, I was 13 years old and Leif already entered the stage of world league compositions. I admired Leif. He eventually became a small hero for me and sure inspired me in my early days. That I’m a way better composer than he is today is just something he’ll have to live with, haha… Leif for president.
9. Being recorded so long ago and yet today this production stands out. The Heavy Load guys who owned the Thunderload studio must have had a great time recording this. I have never heard anything out of that studio that even comes close to “Epicus”. It easily stands up against recordings of the year 2000 era. It’s absolutely massive and a joy to listen to. Everything is pretty much perfectly balanced and it holds a depth to it that most bands only dream of achieving. Impressive, to say the least.
8. Heavy and clean. Nothing spectacular about the tone, but it’s all fucken fine. Ofcourse there’s nothing remotely flashy about the playing, it’s fucken doom metal with some nice solos thrown in. I wouldn’t have minded if they actually tuned down a little though, that would give the already present heaviness even more heaviness.
9. Johan Längqvist really had some wonderful pipes. I have no idea if he ever recorded something else after this but I remember talking to Leif why they didn’t bring in Johan again when Messiah left the band. The reply was that his voice didn’t have “it” anymore. Well, he fucken had “it” on this recording, that’s for sure. I take these vocals over Messiah’s any day, and I love Messiah’s voice.
5. For being the main composer and bassist, it’s weird that the bass isn’t louder in the mix. The sound of it isn’t good at all, it sounds like a clean bass and that’s that. It’s not like it stands out in the production for shit. then we can easily agree on the fact that Candlemass is hardly about the bass (as in the instrument), it’s just there to back the behemoth up.
9. I love this dude’s (Mats Ekström) drumming and I even used to practice to his drums when I was a drummer myself. The sound of the drums is fantastic and his playing is killer all-over. Simple and to the point. Listen to the intro of “Demon’s gate”. Simple. Beautiful. Groovy. Classic. I could go on about the actual drum sound for hours coz it’s one of the best I have ever heard. Just listen to those toms… Absolutely fantastic.
7. Leif must have been quite depressed when he wrote most of this shit. A bit of fantasy, alot of depression and there we go. For an outsider, a ticket to Disneyland seems like a proper gift to Leif on his birthday. It goes perfectly with the depressive tone of the music. The angst is dripping from my speakers. Lovely.
10. One of the most awesome covers to this day. Just a fucken impaled skull, but whatta skull it is. Even now, 20 years after its creation it still looks awesome. This is a proof that sometimes less is more. I wonder who designed this one… I have to ask Leif about that. It’s beautiful.
7. Plain letters, but it works and it’s a trademark for sure. One of the most common fonts in metal but nonetheless it’s always as beautiful.
I never saw the CD for this but I remember the album’s inner-sleeve wasn’t anything impressive at all. I’ll give the LP a 4.
Overall and ending rant
9. If this album is not a classic, I don’t know what fucken is. Candlemass broke new ground with this piece and earned their cult status, which they later destroyed with a lot of shit albums that shouldn’t have been released with the Candlemass moniker. Nonetheless, “Epicus doomicus metallicus” is one of Sweden’s finest moments in metal. If you haven’t heard or own this you do not deserve to be reading this site. If you don’t worship this you are a lesser human.