Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

"I believe! Yes I believe!!!" - 100%

chinhealer, July 11th, 2008

This is one of those albums which helped define my adolescence. It was the first time I'd heard doom. It was the first time songs had actually scared me! This might sound quaint in these days of sicko extremity and blacker-than-thou blackness in blackest of black metal (!) but back in the late 80s, only a handful of bands had the ability to give you the heebie-jeebies in their music. But there was a genuinely eerie quality to Candlemass's songwriting and performances on this album which set the band apart from other purveyors of supposedly evil/Satanic metal. Candlemass eschewed the gore and deliberate attempts to offend that characterized Slayer. They were also less fixated on horror movie theatricality than King Diamond. Candlemass, to me, can be mentioned in the same breath as Celtic Frost in terms of their scariness. But CF were much more radical, leftfield, experimental, avant garde. Candlemass were simpler; more obvious, perhaps.

On Ancient Dreams, they deal with fairly stereotypical lyrical themes of dark fantasy and demons and devils and etc on the whole. But the songs are delivered with such panache, such skill, such emotion and such a fantastic ear for melody that you'll forgive them that. And, anyway, Epistle No 81 is a completely unexpected and unusual song. It's a mourner's lament, a heart-rending ode to mortality which has its origins in the imagination of 18th century Swedish poet Carl Michael Bellman. It's an oft-overlooked doom metal classic. But then, I'd say every single song on the album is a classic in its own right. You'll weep at the crushing, monumental beauty of the riffs the band come up with on song after song. Rifftastic highlights include Darkness in Paradise, Incarnation of Evil, Ancient Dreams and Mirror, Mirror.

Sacrilege though it might be to say it, I actually prefer the Black Sabbath Medley that closes Ancient Dreams to the originals it distils so perfectly! And I haven't even mentioned Messiah Marcolin's phenomenal voice yet! He was truly one of the greatest frontmen metal has ever seen with a highly distinctive sound that is simultaneously so pleasing to the ears and powerful. Wonderful as his performances on the other Candlemass albums might be, Ancient Dreams represents the pinnacle of his career. It is also the band's best work to date.