Candlemass – “Nightfall”


The making of Candlemass’s “Nightfall”

released: November 1987

label: Active


From a brief moment in 1986, bassist, songwriter and lyricist Leif Edling, almost by sheer willpower alone, managed to raise the leaden monolith of Candlemass from their murky depths and into an upright position. Despite his fellow countrymen’s infatuation with radio-friendly melodic rock, à la Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” Candlemass (read: Edling) had successfully honed his cement-heavy blend of Sabbath-meets-Venom-meets-Trouble into the doom metal touchstone debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. The album was made possible only through assistance from local underground metal enthusiasts Mats “Mappe” Björkman and Matz Ekstroem and further supplementation from a session vocalist and session lead guitarist. The atmospheric gloom of Epicus emerged as a declaration of war against the thrash/death metal conglomerate whose collective fury seemed to gain drumbeats-per-second on a monthly basis in the mid-to-late ’80s.

As quickly as the beast had been raised up, it fell lifeless back into its murky depths. Shortly after the release of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, the session musicians decided to part ways with Edling and company. Meanwhile, Black Dragon Records, the label which released Epicus, decided to drop the band due to poor record sales. Chances of resuscitating this hulking monolith looked futile.

Unbeknownst to Candlemass at the time, the Epicus Doomicus Metallicus LP would go on to reach legendary heights and help usher in a renewed sense of melody and atmosphere into the extreme metal universe of its day, not to mention color the worlds of future doomsters who would come of age a few years down the road. But the album would also reach the ears and capture the soul of Bror Jan Alfredo “Messiah” Marcolin, a young singer who hailed from the same homeland as Edling and harbored the same dream of resurrecting the many-tentacled doom hulk from its depths.

Fast forward to 1987 and the Candlemass beast—with drummer Jan Lindh—is fully upright and walking on its own without support. Nightfall, the band’s second LP, sees a cohesive band with a renewed vision and purpose. This time, the murky heaviness is touched with a warmth and elegance that serves to simultaneously invigorate and depress, a template which would go on to define the sound heretofore known as doom metal.

—Scott Koerber

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