Candlemass - Ancient Dreams

Disc I
01. Mirror Mirror
02. A Cry From The Crypt
03. Darkness In Paradise
04. Incarnation Of Evil
05. Bearer Of Pain
06. Ancient Dreams
07. The Bells Of Acheron
08. Epistle No. 81
09. Black Sabbath Medley

Disc II [bonus]
01. Mirror Mirror [live]
02. The Bells Of Acheron [live]
03. Bearer Of Pain [live]
04. A Cry From The Crypt [live]
05. Interview
+ Mirror Mirror [video]

With time Candlemass deservedly won the reputation of Metal Legends and I think it's fair to say that there are four main reasons for their status: "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus," "Nightfall," "Ancient Dreams" and "Tales Of Creation." There's no denying it, these albums are absolute cornerstones of Metal; the originators of the Doom genre, they are full of brilliant songs and music played like no other band had ever played.

The long songs with complex structures presented in "Ancient Dreams" manage to invoke such a haunting but pleasant atmosphere that grabs the listener's attention almost immediately. The brilliant Messiah Marcolin adds so much intensity and emotion to the music that it's impossible not to feel the power of these songs. The amount of incredible memorable riffs and well executed solos are enough to surprise anyone too.

Right when the album starts you can also understand why Candlemass are often mentioned as an epic band because that's exactly the feeling that "Mirror, Mirror" (heavy), "A Cry From The Crypt" (darker), and "Darkness In Paradise" (catchier) transmit. It's with songs like "Incarnation Of Evil" and "Epistle No. 81" that you have the really slow side, though. They progress in a sad mood with little variation but they will leave you breathless all the same, that's the power of good Doom Metal. Other tunes like "Bearer Of Pain" and "Ancient Dreams" end up having a bit of everything, which only raises to the high quality of the album.

At the closing track Candlemass surprises us (or maybe not, since they always said this was their stronger influence) with a medley only of Black Sabbath songs. You'll recognize "Symptom Of The Universe," "Sweet Leaf," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," "Into The Void," "Electric Funeral," and "Supernaut." You'll not believe how consistent and singular this is, if you're not fully concentrated you'll hardly notice when it changes to a different part. If you like Black Sabbath, as I do, but prefer Messiah Marcolin over any vocalist from the British band, as I do too, then you can take this one as a highlight even before you hear the album.

The album production also gains a good amount of praise. The sound is clear and powerful, the heaviness of the guitars, whether it's the slow riffs ("Incarnation Of Evil") or the slightly more upbeat ones ("Mirror, Mirror"), is astonishing, basically all the elements are present in the right places and proportions.

I still have a hard time deciding which are my favourite Candlemass albums; I normally mention "Tales Of Creation" as my number one but I don't dare to choose a runner up, it's practically impossible (even more with the release of the self titled in 2005). And I don't think many fans can do it either. For that, this is a mandatory release for the Doom Metal lovers. For beginners this is the place to start. For everyone else, well, you should give it a listen too because this is pure Metal.

Band profile: Candlemass
Album: Ancient Dreams


written by Passenger | 20.06.2006

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


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Marcel Hubregtse - 20.06.2006 at 23:23  
Just an interesting little sidenote here... ON the orignal vinyl version which was released in 1988 the Black Sabbath wasn't on it. That only later surfaced when the album was released on cd a couple of years later. But at the time (1988) they did however play the Black Sabbath medley live quite often.
Passenger - 21.06.2006 at 02:38  
Nice trivia. By the way, do you actually own that vinyl version? Because it looks like one of those perfect collector's item
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.06.2006 at 15:38  
Yes, I own the vinyl version. BTW, also the vinyl versions of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Nightfall, bought them all in the years they were released.
Uirapuru - 19.01.2010 at 06:22  
The worst of the three first albuns, but still very good. Two songs stand-out as the bests to me: ''Darkness In Paradise'' and ''The bells of Acheron''.
Papa_Ray - 30.08.2010 at 00:54  
I think this album is a bit underrated. I think it easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the other 3 albums Candlemass released in the '80s. I tend to get a lot out of it because lyrically it's so mystical and I love that.
Marcel Hubregtse - 30.08.2010 at 01:42  
To me this one, although not as good as the first two, is way superior to Tales Of Creation.
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.08.2010 at 13:30  
My least favourite of the first 4 albums but I still love the crap out of it. I think Messiah, at times, becomes a little too overdramatic on this one, on Mirror, Mirror for example.

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