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Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Review: Making music from the variations of the predictable, Candlemass trudge through hymns of doom and hopelessness with a gleeful creativity that reminds one of highly-talented juvenile delinquents. Once the listener can overcome the cheese factor on these crooner vocals in the style of Paul Di'Anno or King Diamond, the sheer melody inherent in these guitar structures bleeds through.
Deep texturing permits Candlemass to bend a riff into the continuation of melodic expectancy for long periods of time in a style that clearly inspired Cathedral, with roaring power chord dirges sailing on for eight or nine minutes on the same basic exchanges of notes. Over this the carefully placed vocals pick and move elements of tension as the guitar gyrates through variations of a monolithic theme. Its textures save it in the inflections of playing, vocal effect, and many subtle variations on "pieces" of common themes for connective effect.
Bass is tasteful and removed, while competent drumming serves as a backbone without much need for variation. Even for doom metal this is unusually slow and simple at times, while at other times highly musically literate heavy metal almost like Arch Enemy is now, but the exceptional factor is the highly melodic and controlled vocals that use anti-melodic and dissonant intervals to great effect.
Turning, plodding, stalling, sagging, plodding, driving, collapsing this music is despair, but at the same time, it's heavy metal in an old and powerful sense of the words, a gothic culture of finding life in feeling the weight of death. Since these guys put out a few albums after this, I assume that it works.