Epicus Doomicus Metallicus plods right outta the gate with "Solitude", perhaps the band's anthem. A main riff of massive proportions and soul-crushing lyrics make this one of the band's most depressing songs (which is saying a lot). Speaking of gates, "Demons Gate" is the longest song here, clocking in at over nine minutes in length. This one sports a cool, quasi-guttural intro by Leif Edling and lyrics based on the obscure Italian horror movie The Beyond. "Crystal Ball" is the shortest song here, and definitely one of the most immediately catchy. If "Black Stone Wielder" can be called the weakest link, than that is as sure a sign as any that this is one awesome album. The lyrics here are fascinating, being a retelling of the story of the Three Wise Men. This set the template for many biblical references throughout the band's career. Originally a part of the Tales of Creation concept (and appearing three years later in a rerecorded version on that album), this rendition of "Under the Oak" stands tall by itself and actually betters its 1989 counterpart, largely thanks to Johan Längquist's piercing high notes. "A Sorcerer's Pledge" is arguably the band's most epic song in a discography almost entirely composed of them. Featuring three distinct sections, some surprising, galloping riffage, Längquist's most versatile vocal performance, and a beautiful, melismatic outro featuring a female guest singer, Candlemass could not close the album on a more powerful note than this.
Certain fans may disregard this album in light of the band's following three '80s releases, which featured a stable lineup, better production, and a powerhouse vocalist in Messiah Marcolin. It should be noted, however, that not only is this the most consistent Candlemass album by far, but also that this album has just as atmospheric a production as the following three (if not as thick-sounding overall), and Johan Längquist's less dramatic yet more varied singing suits the music quite well. To be sure, 1987's Nightfall is a doom metal standard in its own right (as are the two after it to some degree), but it's sorta like arguing whether Black Sabbath or Paranoid is the better album. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is an essential purchase and the perfect introduction to the dark, gloomy world of doom metal.