Candlemass looked back a bit for their excellent new album, The Door to Doom: the doom titans got their first vocalist, Johan Längquist, back in the fold. So to celebrate the release of The Door to Doom, we caught up with bassist Leif Edling to do some more looking back before the band looks ahead to conquer 2019: we found out what five heavy albums had the most impact on his life.
Read on to see what Edling thinks is the heaviest album of all time, what NWOBHM record he can’t live without and which of Trouble‘s self-titled records he picked.
Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
It’s impossible to make such a list without mentioning Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. It is still the heaviest, coolest, best album of all time, and it has meant more to me than I can say. Colossal, monumental, timeless. SBS is the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001! It is there, it has always been there, will always be. For me, right here, right now, the elephant in the room. I thought I was going to mention records that were important during the formative years of Candlemass. The NWOBHM and NWOAHM that had an… impact on us. It fast became pretty clear I couldn’t get past Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
You know it when you see it—this will be fucking awesome! The cover speaks volumes to you even before you hear the record. A sinister whispering of imminent grandeur, doom ‘n’ gloom, class! Satanic majesty in your very presence. I can’t describe it in any other way. And if the front cover won’t grab your attention, put it on, for Christ’s sake! The opening riff will crush the inner organs, melt your face! Probably the best riff ever written. They have a few more of those lined up as well.
In fact, Black Sabbath as a band peaks right here. Like Da Vinci with Mona Lisa. Mozart with “Requiem.” Coppola’s The Godfather. Sabbath were never better on record than in 1973. An artistic height few artists can reach. From the songwriting to the production, the clever arrangements, the lust for experimentation, the dare to cross the lines of what you can do as a band here. There’s also beauty, extreme craftsmanship, plus a touch of insanity embedded in this monster of an album. Even less keyboard than you would imagine.
Sabbath made the stars align on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. They were never better. Perform like mad gods of rock. Giving us unworthy mortals a glimpse of their power. Preserved forever on a piece of plastic that should be in every music lover’s home.
Motörhead – Motörhead (1977)
Sometime in 1977 I got my first metal revelation. I was 14 and picked up something really fantastic in the local department-store record section. It had the most fantastic cover I had ever seen. Some monster in white on black background. I could also read the name “Motörhead” over it. When I listened to it I almost had my ears blown off. The sheer power of the title track was so overwhelming I could hardly breathe. I had never heard anything even close to it. It was so brutal, raw, ugly. Of course, I loved it immediately!
It is a love that has stayed a lifetime (or Leiftime). I totally adore that first album they made in that barn somewhere in the countryside with Speedy Keen. Overkill too… and all the other records with the classic lineup of Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie and Philthy. Those are my boys. When Motörhead were dirty ‘n’ dysfunctional. Lemmy was singing about his star sign and being lost on the road, “Fast” Eddie Clarke played his absolutely loudest guitar (just listen to the title track solo!) and Philthy’s a-bit-untight drumming made everything gel in this unholy stew of really dirty rock ‘n’ roll.
I walked around with their logo all over my jean jacket together with about a zillion studs. I was even a member of their fan club “The Motörheadbangers” in the late ’70s, run by little Philthy’s sister (I think). Somewhere I do have the fan club magazines they sent out, probably in a box among lots of boxes in the basement, but the Motörheadbanger T-shirts are all gone. The fan club badges too. Still got the memories, though.
Angel Witch – Angel Witch (1980)
Another record I can’t live without. They had a short (first) career that I’m very happy to have witnessed from pretty much start to end. In 1979, I bought the mythic Metal for Muthas album. Two bands stood out: Iron Maiden and Angel Witch. I really mean stood out! Shit, we’re talking about two bands that became legends. One, the biggest metal band of all time, the other, a mythological beast that just refuses to die, having more lives than a cat, still making metal hearts tick feverishly. That’s exactly how I felt when I first heard “Baphomet” on MfM. Became obsessed. Angel Witch had arrived.
The year after, when the album came out, I was at the Heavy Sound record store in Stockholm; went there every week to get the newest and hottest metal records. They imported themselves, so they got all the good stuff first. I still remember today, nearly almost 40 years later, how I was sweating when they put the opening track on and the title song “Angel Witch” cracked the headphones in two. I couldn’t believe it! It was even better than I could ever imagine.
What really shocked me was the fact that the record just kept on getting better and better with every song I heard. When “Angel of Death” came on, I was in tears. This is my destiny. This is what I’m gonna do in my life. I don’t care if I get merely half as good or not even getting an album out. I was seriously smitten with the metal bug.
Trouble – Trouble (1984)
This album hit me like a bomb! Sure, I had heard “The Last Judgement” on Metal Massacre IV; even so, I wasn’t prepared for the insane heaviness of the full-length. It really hit me hard! Bang, right between the eyes, also in the heart. It kicks of with “The Tempter.” Heavy as fuck, doomy, groovy, a bit hippie. What’s not to love?
Have to mention the guitar sound of white Gibson flying V team Franklin/Wartell. Wooaaw! Don’t think I have ever heard anything like that before. Or after. Imagine two ultra-sharp synchronized saw blades ripping your brain apart. And the riffs are so many. Layers and layers of them. Like a kinder egg of molten metal, smack right in your face!
The Trouble album came out in 1984, and my world wasn’t the same after. All of a sudden we had a new contender in “our” field. The metal map was changed again. Of course, we nicked an idea or two from Trouble. We would never have the harmony guitars in “Black Stone Wielder” otherwise. I’m sure there are other passages on Epicus or other C-mass albums that feature “lends” from the Chicago doom unit.
Unfortunately, I never saw them live in the heyday. But we have shared stages with them several times later on. Brilliant band, great guys! Their first album definitely changed my life. To the better.
Manilla Road – The Deluge (1986)
I loved Crystal Logic, adored Open the Gates, so it’s no wonder that I, together with Candlemass drummer Mats Ekström, worshipped the very ground that Manilla Road walked on. It was also the reason we approached Black Dragon with a demo in 1985.
We didn’t expect anything, just sent out a couple to a very few cool labels outside Sweden. Got a “Sorry, but no” from Brian Ross (Satan), but it was Black Dragon we really wanted. Mainly because of Manilla Road, of course. Have to say also that we were very much into the incredible art of late/great Eric Larnoy.
Nevertheless, we got signed eventually, released Epicus in 1986. A good year! Even better was the fact that Manilla Road put a beast called The Deluge out the same year. People always rave about Crystal Logic or Mystification but I have to say that Deluge is my favourite Manilla Road record. I love ’em all to bits… this is special for me, though. Can’t put a finger on it. Maybe it is because it is so related to us building the foundation for Candlemass here, this year. The first Trouble album was so important, but also this slab of vinyl telling tales about sunken continents and forgotten isles belonging to the dead. Every second of The Deluge is incredible, mind-blowing, irresistible. Bone-hard and beautiful metal performed with so much feeling. Massive!
I had a letter from the people at Black Dragon saying that Mark Shelton liked the demo that I had sent in 1985. It was the OAL one with “Demon’s Gate” and “Black Stone Wielder.” I didn’t pay that much attention to what BD shortly said in the letter. Many years later when I first met Mark Shelton at the Headbangers Open Air in Germany, I heard the full story. He actually persuaded them! “You need to sign these guys!” Thank you so much, Mark! I owe you one, my friend… will definitely buy you a big horn of mead there in Valhalla when I see you there.