Candlemass – “Nightfall” (1987)

Candlemass!  These depressing Swedish pallbearers released their second album Nightfall in 1987 on Axis Records.  It has become one of the definitive works of the heavy metal sub-genre of doom metal (or, more specifically, epic doom metal).  The album was the first Candlemass album to feature corpulent, cloak wearing, and frizzy-fro sporting singer Messiah Marcolin.  The principle creative force behind Candlemass was founder/songwriter/bassist Leif Edling.

My Worthless Opinion:  One of the better jobs in heavy metal must be playing drums in Candlemass.  You can strike the drum, leave, take a piss, and return in plenty of time to hit the next beat.  Okay, the songs aren’t that slow, but they do churn and churn.  And when the tempos do pick up to mid-paced, they stand out like a fart in church.  Candlemass were masters at creating a gothic atmosphere with their music.  An overall feeling of impending doom is expressed with the thick Sabbathian riffing and Messiah’s dramatic vocal delivery.  But before you get all melancholy and paint your bedroom walls with your blown out brains, take a close listen to the lyrics.  Sure, the lyrics are mostly about death, but more so the lyrics deal with the battle between heaven and hell for ownership of man’s soul.  Kind of Christian themed actually.  For example, Samarithan is about the protagonist helping out some old bum.  Then when the geezer croaks he promises the guy will be repaid for his good deeds when he dies.  Fifty years go by, and when the protagonist bites it, he goes to heaven.  What a nice story, right?  (Candlemass tell the story a bit more eloquently than I.)

Even if you are not a hardcore fan of doom metal, Nightfall has the goods to satisfy your basic, mainstream metal fan.  Some of the riffs are monstrous, the leads are very cool, and Messiah has an excellent, clean, quasi-operatic singing voice.  My personal fav from this record is the epic At The Gallows End.  Not an album for everyday rotation, but something to have on hand for those blackest of moods.  My score: B

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One thought on “Candlemass – “Nightfall” (1987)

  1. I have the AXIS records and Active Records CD’s version in my collection…And I have seen the Metal Blade/ Restless Version pressed by Discovery Systems, version, recently.

    And I have to tell you the Metal Blade Version blows the other 2 version out of the water. I am biased because I always liked how Discovery Systems pressed disc for Metal Blade, before Nimbus took over. So based on that… I recommend the Metal Blade version over the first 2 import pressings.

    This used to be in my everyday rotation back in 1987, but for doom metal recently it has mostly been the first 3 Pentagram’s, Trouble’s “Psalm 9” , the first 4 Black Sabbath recordings, the first 2 Cirith Ungol releases, Pagan Altar’s “Volume 1, and the first 2 Witchfinder General CD’s. which have been always in my everyday, weekly and monthly rotations.

    Out of the Axis, Active and Music For NationS- era, for the band Candlemass. “Nightfall” is my favorite release from that era.

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