As timeless and undeniable today as it was upon its original release in 1985, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is one of heavy metal’s crown jewels. Like all certified classics, the Swedes’ debut has been reissued many times over the years, but this three-disc, 35th-anniversary box set is such a lavish and comprehensive upgrade that doom disciples will probably find that resistance is useless.
A newly remastered version of Epicus itself is as magnificent as it ought to be. Every one of the album’s six tracks is a doom classic, and everything from Solitude to A Sorcerer’s Pledge zings with enhanced power. If anyone needs additional reasons to take the plunge, the official vinyl debut of 1985’s legendary Witchcraft demo should be more than sufficient.
Non-album cuts Warchild and Into The Unfathomed Tower suggest that Candlemass dabbled with much faster tempos in their formative years, but an early take on Crystal Ball sees them audibly locating the slow-motion sweet spot that has become their trademark.
More demos and a gritty, gripping rehearsal from the autumn of ’85 complete the audio picture, an eight-page booklet, poster and letter signed by founder and riff master Leif Edling are a neat bonus. A re-release supreme.