Never has an album with as appropriate a title as Epicus Doomicus Metallicus been released. Launching the doom metal movement, Candlemass was the brainchild of former Nemesis man Leif Edling. While the 1986 debut (preceded by the Witchery demo) remains a respected milestone, the band developed its reputation with Marcolin who joined the band after the album. Rumours have it that Tales Of Creation is in fact a reworked Nemesis album. At this point, the band had toured with the likes of Nuclear Assault, Savatage and Slayer. Live is a fantastic representation of doom metal. An unsuccessful US tour with Atheist followed. At this juncture Marcolin left the band following differences with Edling over the former's vocal style. The nineties saw Candlemass do the unthinkable and move away from doom metal. Edling spent most of the nineties with his heavy metal band Abstrakt Algebra and hosting a metal show on Swedish radio until his return (sans Marcolin) for Dactylis. A Swedish-only EP was released in 1993 through Megarock but this was merely a collection of old Swedish folk songs. The current Candlesmass is mostly heavy/power with some doom moments.
Predictably, the band reformed in 2002. The band's first show was the Sweden Rocks Festival. The line-up was vocalist Messiah Marcolin, bassist Leif Edling, guitarists Mats Bjorkman and Lars Johansson and drummer Jan Lindh. The act released a DVD called Candlemass Documents Of Doom culled from 1990 and announced plans for a live album. The Swedes played at the BW&BK festival in the USA in the summer of 2003.
The band wrote several new songs, but abruptly threw in the towel again in the winter of 2004. The band members did not get along. As abruptly, the band regrouped later in the year. Simultaneously, the band announced a new compilation CD, entitled Essential Doom, through GMR Music. It featured the band's favourite songs plus the unreleased track Witches. The band was writing new material and signed to Nuclear Blast in early 2005. Candlemass returned to the scene with a new studio album in May, 2005. The album was recorded at Sweden's Polar Studio. The band was soon booked at Several European festivals including Rockwave Festival. The band hit the European road with former label-mates Destruction, and Finland's Deathchain, in the autumn. Candlelight Records issued six back catalogue titles from the band in the USA in February of 2006. The titles included four unavailable albums, a live record and the band's CD/DVD collection.
In April of 2006 vocalist Messiah Marcolin quit Candlemass as he had just prior to Chapter VI, although the band’s website predicted he would soon return. Notwithstanding the prediction and the label’s intervention, the band commenced searching for a new singer after accepting the definite departure of singer Messiah Marcolin in late 2006. While the vocalist had announced his departure in April, the band had held out hope for his return and even promised Messiah’s participation on the next album. The rest of the band had recorded an album’s worth of material already recorded. In a surprisingly unsurprising move, Solitude Aeternus’ Rob Lowe joined his idols, Candlemass, at the end of 2006. He doomsters were completing work on a new called King Of The Grey Islands. The album was due in June through Nuclear Blast Records. The band would play a twentieth anniversary show on March 31st, 2007 in Sweden where Lowe would debut. A DVD would result. Also appearing were former singers Johan Langquist and Tomas Vikström. The latter man joined Therion replacing Mats Leven. Therion wanted to go in a different direction vocally. Candlemass toured Europe with Powerwolf, Stereochrist and others in tow. Candlemass guitarist Mats "Mappe" Björkman was sentenced to two years in a Swedish prison in 2008 for the theft of CDs worth approximately $520,000 Canadian over a two-year period. The musician worked at Swedish music distributor Entertainment Network Scandinavia and was allegedly stealing CDs over a three-year period! The band was recording an EP called Lucifer Rising. The group was hitting the North American tour circuit in May and June of 2008. This was the band’s first tour of that continent in 17 years. Support came from Daylight Dies. The band announced Death Magic Doom as the title for its next album, which is due on March 27th, 2009 through Nuclear Blast Records. The album contained eight songs. The band was announced to headline 2010’s Keep It True XIII festival by performing a special 25th anniversary two-hour show comprised of the entire Epicus Doomicus Metallicus album with original singer Johan Langquist on vocals and another set featuring actual singer Robert Lowe. Candlemass and Trouble performed several shows together in Sweden in September 2009. The band was at ProgPower as well. Swedish doom metal band Candlemass will release a new DVD, Ashes To Ashes - Live, on June 29th through Nuclear Blast Records. The video will contain footage of the band's performance at 2009's Sweden Rock Festival in front of 30,000 people as well as an October of 2009 concert in Athens, Greece and other extras. The band had to cancel its April 17th, 2010 Roadburn festival appearance due to the Icelandic ash cover. Candlemass also cancelled its appearance at Keep It True XIII festival on April 23-24th because the members needed to be back at work and on the job on Monday after the show. Candlemass would celebrate its 25th anniversary with a longer performance at Debaser Medis in Stockholm on December 18th. The band's classic album, Epicus Doomicus Metalicus, was performed in its entirety for the first time with Candlemass' original singer Johan Längqvist. Current singer Robert Lowe was present.
The band signed a deal with Napalm Records in late 2011 and was working on music for its farewell album, which was tentatively scheduled for a spring 2012 release. Candlemass would release its next and final album, Psalms For The Dead, in June, 2012 through Napalm Records. A limited-edition 7” EP with two album tracks, Dancing In The Temple Of The Mad Queen Bee and The Killing Of The Sun, was out on April 13. Candlemass, which had already announced a pending retirement, asked singer Robert Lowe to leave the band! According to a statement by Candlemass, the American singer was let go because his live performance were not up to par. Singer Mats Levén of Therion and Treat fame, who played With Candlemass’ Edling in Krux, was replacing the American for live work. Candlemass would release its final album, Psalms For The Dead, on June 8th through Napalm Records. To celebrate Sweden Rock Magazine's 100th issue, Candlemass and Entombed recorded cover versions of each other's songs for a CD single sent exclusively to the magazine's subscribers with issue #100. Candlemass recorded a heavy version of Entombed's song To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth. Entombed covered Candlemass' song Black Dwarf.
CANDLEMASS - same - NUCLEAR BLAST
Messiah is back! Yes, vocalist Messiah Marcolin is back fronting a reformed, rejuvenated and rebaptized Candlemass, but so is the messiah of epic doom metal. This is a return to form for the icons of the genre. The new self-titled album is a successful comeback for a band one should call saviours of doom metal with trepidation because this album is good enough to be considered the restorer of all heavy metal - if it needed one which it does not of course. The quality of this piece of molten metal is apparent in the opening moments when the swooping sound effect acts as a harbinger for the music to come. Months have gone by without the knights of Metallian Towers being courted by sounds so majestic, so grand, so immense and so heavy.
The album begins with the song Black Dwarf which would be called one of the better tracks on the disc were it not for the fact that the album does not contain a single dud. Seven Silver Keys (which has a riff reminiscent of Black Sabbath with Dio circa 1980), Assassin Of The Light, Copernicus (gloom and doom defined), Witches (a complete metal song if ever there was one) and the upbeat and speedy Mars And Volcanos (a bonus song for certain formats) deliver on the promise of the band and the genre. The first album with Messiah on vocals since 1990's triumphant Live album features tasteful and deep solos, operatic wailing doom vocals that have not and do not miss a beat, massively effective chords that crash the gates of feeble minds and shattered ears and drums that roll to the tune of doom-laden sensation. The engineering values on this album are exceptional.
Perhaps every band should retire and reappear several later if its offering will consequently be this good. Did someone say the band members do not get along? This then is a true return to glorious '80s. Perhaps Leif Edling is putting us on and the songs are riffs written and collected in the band's exciting and early days and now dished up with updated production values and power? Oddly enough, the band's biography deems Candlemass "Trouble-inspired". This makes no sense chronologically even if Trouble were ever as good as the Swedish gods. At any rate, the new album has matched the grandeur, heaviness and class of classic songs like Solitude, A Sorcerer's Pledge and At The Gallows End. Appropriate amounts of Candlemass reverb, harmony, elegant riff and unleashed rhythm warfare are just another way of saying that this album belongs in every heavy metal collection.
Signing Candlemass is a very wise investment for Nuclear Blast Records only because it is a very advisable investment for heavy metal fans to buy this album. - Ali "The Metallian"
CANDLEMASS – KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS – NUCLEAR BLAST
“The album is a concept album about depression and suicide in modern society,” notes Candlemass’ bassist and founder Leif Edling. Could any topic be more appropriate for the world’s premier doom metal band? King Of The Grey Islands is a typical album for Candlemass with music that is just right, a good sound that never overdoes the clarity, some speed, but emphasis on the heavy riffing and titles like Emperor Of The Void, Destroyer or Man Of Shadows. The newest outing does include several differences to its immediate predecessor however. The band’s trademark solos are still here, but used much more sparsely. The music is not as heavy as 2005’s self-titled album and skips the bursts of speed of that album which were featured on songs like Mars And Volcanos or Black Dwarf. Several cuts like Man Of Shadows or the ending of Embracing The Styx positively reek of ’60s’ pop, with the former in particular coming across as being influenced by Animals’ The House Of The Rising Sun! With the more subdued atmosphere comes the biggest change of all, namely the replacement of the band’s main vocalist Messiah Marcolin by American singer Rob Lowe Of Solitude Aeturnus. The new singer is obviously a perfect choice given his main band’s complete and utter love for all things Candlemass. Much like Ripper’s joining Judas Priest, Lowe’s recruitment into Candlemass is an easy pick despite Solitude Aeturnus’ semi-established status. What is surprising is how much the new album veers away from the last album of Candlemass and towards the band’s late ‘80s work and even Solitude Aeturnus. Not that this can be deliberate given how the album was written before the new man’s arrival, but Lowe’s presence must be so strong that at times this album sounds more like something off the Texans’ Downfall or Through The Darkest Hour albums than Candlemass’ last couple of records. Nevertheless, King Of The Grey Islands is impressive and a fine addition to the band’s back catalogue. Messiah’s shrieks will be missed, but if fans had had their pick at how this change should have been handled they would not have chosen any differently than the Leif and company did. – Ali “The Metallian”