Last time in Part 1, we introduced the proverbial Big Four of doom metal. Though “big” is a word that certainly applies to their elite stature among the subgenre, it did not apply to their sales figures. Even Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, the Candlemass debut record that is often considered doom metal’s finest hour, was a commercial flop upon its 1986 release. Though it’s a phrase that originally applied to the Velvet Underground, I think it’s fair to say that “not many people heard those early albums, but everyone who did went out and started a band.”

One of those copies of Epicus reached Messiah Marcolin, who sang for a band called Mercy with a booming, intense, opera-like voice. He called Leif Edling in the middle of the night, sang him “Solitude” over the phone, and offered to sing for Candlemass. While dressed as a medieval monk.

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It was late on a freezing winter night, and I wanted to listen to some metal.

But I was in the mood for something a little different. My usual go-tos like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and anything involving Ronnie James Dio were all in heavy rotation already, and I had also been listening to a lot of death metal and black metal so I wasn’t really feeling those either.

Into that need for something a little different stepped Candlemass, my first true experience with what we call “doom metal.”

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“Don’t believe what you see
Don’t believe what you read.” – “Propaganda,” from the album Chaos A.D.

Max Cavalera of Sepultura should have been a torch bearer at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Metal is as emblematic of Brazil as is Pele or the Amazon,” a passionate fan told Sam Dunn in Global Metal.

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When death metal legends Morbid Angel released their first album in 8 years, Illud Divinum Insanus, the reaction of the metal community was something like this:

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“Look, if I see things as being f*cked, I’m gonna tell you they’re f*cked. I can’t sit there any say, ‘Oh, everything’s nice because I’ve got a new Porsche.” – Lemmy

1986 was such a landmark year for metal already that a new Motorhead album must have seemed like extra icing on a dense, heavy cake. But at the time, it was the first studio effort from Lemmy and friends in three years–a long time for them!

Assuming they spent all that time just drinking and writing, the effort really shows: the songs on Orgasmatron are some of the band’s finest…and angriest.

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2016 was not off to a good start for us headbangers with Lemmy Kilmister’s passing, but I am happy and proud to say that this latest Megadeth statement helped jerk me out of my mourning phase.
More than thirty years into their career, Megadeth has managed to craft one their stronger all-time records. As the excellent cyborg-apocalypse album art shows, the band has its finger on the fear and anger over the state of our world in 2016, with strong, tight, relevant music to match.

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Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt 2,Scenes From A Memory (1999)

The cinematic, extravagant metal album of the year 1999, the close of the century.

It’s hard enough to create just one new paradigm of progressive, heavy music…but two?

Interestingly enough, Scenes From A Memory would not have happened without the difficulties of the prog metal giants’ previous record to this, 1997’s Falling Into Infinity. On that record, there was stressful label interference and a generally difficult writing and recording process. Among other things, it meant that shorter, more accessible songs would be the focus, at the expense of longer tracks. Clearly, the suits believed nobody liked progressive music anymore because everyone has ADD. Some things never change.

One of those “it’s too long, scrap it” tracks that didn’t make the cut for Falling Into Infinity was “Metropolis, Pt. 2.”

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August 2002 would seem a strange time to release a record so steeped in the eerie beauty of winter as The Mantle. But released it was, and fans were treated to an ambitious 70-minute winter landscape set to metal music. Even the term “metal” is used very loosely here, so varied are the songs. With generous sections of strummed acoustic guitars, folk instruments and ambient sounds, Agalloch is sometimes deemed to be a progressive band. Even the most straightforward metal-type song here, “I Am the Wooden Doors,” still indulges in twin acoustic guitar backdrops and solos to go along with its double-bass drum attack and rasping black metal vocals. To me, the doors symbolize the stoutness of the human spirit, a break in the overall wintry melancholy of The Mantle.

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