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Review of the Album "Nightfall" by Swedish Doom Metal Band Candlemass

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

A photo of the night sky as the sun sets, thus this photo represents the album title Nightfall.

A photo of the night sky as the sun sets, thus this photo represents the album title Nightfall.

Length: 46:29

Genre: doom metal/rock

Personnel for the album is as follows:

  • “Messiah” Macolin: lead vocals
  • Mats Bjorkman: rhythm guitars
  • Leif Edling: bass guitars, lyrics, and songwriting
  • Jan Lindh: drums
  • Lars “Lasse” Johansson: lead guitars

Nightfall Background Information

Nightfall released in November 1987 is the second studio album by Swedish doom metal veterans Candlemass and this album first was met with lineup changes especially in the lead vocals department. For this one, the person doing the lead vocals is “Messiah” Marcolin also known as Eddie Marcolin replaced the previous session vocalist which we have discussed for the debut of Candlemass. Having been dropped from their previous record label for poor album sales, Candlemass were signed to David Constable’s record label Axis Records. This is not your ordinary kind of doom metal but doom metal that is highly technical and creative. Wow, as soon as I resumed listening to Candlemass’s sophomore effort, a relief began to flow through my body as if I have been rejuvenated. The vocals are of a baritone operatic nature and they fit the style of the songs well.

"Codex Gigas"

Nightfall is a Better Album Than Candlemass's Debut

Candlemass during this time period got busy releasing as much material as they could but in the 1980s many bands were doing this. Was it part of an accepted tradition to release an album pretty much every year? Was it expected by the record labels at the time? I do not know for sure but at least initially, Nightfall sounds like it is a better album than the debut. The album starts with what sounds like a pounding drum followed by Gothic/symphonic style metal and then it goes into the second song “The Well of Souls.” I detect that this song has a lead guitar style similar to Yngwie J. Malmsteen but obviously it is not played as fast. After the solo the guitars get a bit heavier for a while.

"Black Candles"

The vocals are not of a sad nature at all thus they are not technically of the doom metal style but of a style that you would hear from an opera singer. This is one of those qualities that shows the vocal strength of Messiah Marcolin. “Samarithan” is a really nice doom metal song in the style of Black Sabbath and Mercyful Fate only in this case, it is just a notch better. Some of you may wonder why we would even compare this to two legendary bands. Well because Candlemass deserves that kind of praise and recognition. Then, in a rather unexpected twist, Candlemass does a shorter version of Frederic Chopin’s “Funeral March” song but this version is in the metal style obviously. Frederic Chopin could be and should be given a sort of musical tribute in a different genre given how talented he was. The song in this album is titled “Marche Funebre.” Even though this second album by Candlemass deals with lyrical themes having to do with death, damnation, heaven and hell, musically you really enjoy listening to it because it is so well written. Messiah Marcolin’s vocal range isn’t as high as King Diamond but in an album such as this one it really doesn’t matter. “Codex Gigas” is actually one of four instrumental songs on this album. Yes, that is hard to believe because usually in a metal album the standard is two or three instrumental songs. This one is just the heavy doom metal type and there is not much to say about this one. To end this album is the 4th and final instrumental song called “Black Candles” which begins with a very nice progressive metal style guitar part before getting heavy. It is with 1987’s Nightfall album that really marks the beginning of the greatness of Sweden’s Candlemass.

"Marche Funebre"

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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