Candlemass – Epicus Doomus Metallicus (1986)
Unlike its successor, I have never felt any bizarre operating system images from this album, and maybe that’s for the better. If Nightfall is based on the Linux kernel, this is probably similar to Andrew S. Tanenbaum’s MINIX operating system, which Linus Torvalds took many basic concepts from. As such, listeners can clearly see the lineage, but there are a number of obvious differences.
Most importantly, compared to Nightfall, this is a lot darker and introverted. Note the presence of Johan Längqvist, a former hard rock singer who, since the recording of this album appears to have fallen off the face of the earth. His vocals are significantly lower than Messiah Marcolin’s, and his baritones are immensely powerful (by misinterpreting this sentence we can power up to 100 homes per copy of EDM), although he occasionally gives us a high scream because our spine is too warm.
Generally, the compositions are simpler and more bludgeoning than they would later be, but the overall technique is similar – slow, downtuned guitars, semi-technical bombastic drums, a heavy vocal emphasis (when you have singers as good as Längqvist and Marcolin, it would be sacrilege to let their abilities go to waste), highly proficient guitar solos, and occasional moments of uptempo strumming (not quite speed metal, but Crystal Ball and A Sorcerer’s Pledge deliver a good deal of speed while remaining epic and doomy). The production is HUGE for 1986 – on par with the more mainstream stuff like Metallica and Slayer, and clearly a million times heavier than your average glam rockers.
Frankly, this album just gets better with every song – Solitude is all fine and good, but Under the Oak, for example, has more variety, an even better vocal performance (where Johan doesn’t pronounce a variety of words oddly) and so on. “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” is also huge, and after its powerful acoustic opening, heads straight into the colossal main section of the song – the band reaches maximum speed and heaviness in on the track, and it’s cathartic if anything. This album has grown on me with repeated spins, to the point that it’s probably one of my all-time favorites in the genre. Admittedly, I don’t listen to a lot of doom metal, but I doubt much of anything could dislodge this.
For you sick fellows who wonder what other OSes I would associate with albums and artists for whatever bizarre reason:
Phlebotomized – Immense, Intense, Suspense (1994) is Windows 3.1.
Alice in Chains’s self-titled (1995) is Windows 95.
Enslaved – Maudraum: Beyond The Within is Windows XP.
Gargoyle – Furebumi (1990) is version 7.5 of Mac OS (I.E, back when Apple didn’t sell glorified Intel PCs, and therefore was at least somewhat cool).