For whatever reason, the line-up of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
, including amazing singer Johan Langquist, did not last. On Candlemass
' sophomore album, Nightfall
, the epic wailer was replaced with fluffy tenor Messiah
Marcolin, complete with as much vibrato as frizzy, afro-like hair. In many ways, this change is similar to the vocalist change in the popular British band Iron Maiden, even down to Messiah
Marcolin's fame and fan-love surpassing that of all the other singers, including Johan.
is an interesting progression from Epicus to say the least. Maybe it's the album art, or the quality of the songs, but there is a new feel to the music of Candlemass
. It's still as epic and doomy as before, but the addition of low-fi recording atmosphere, akin to the then nascent Norwegian black metal scene, pervades every track. However, whereas with black metal it grows cliche, the low-fi coupled with Black Sabbath
-y riffs and Marcolin's epic voice actually pull off the desired effect.
What, then, does the next stage of Epic Doom Metal
have to offer it's listeners? "At the Gallows End
" starts as a mournful ballad with Messiah
's voice climbing to the peak of mournful wails before the metal comes back in and you get assaulted with a speedy riff of doom. Lyrically, this song is similar to, if not darker than, "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Of course, the slow, impending doom of "Samarithan", another Biblical epic like "Black Stone
Wielder", must needs be mentioned. Aside from the obvious references to Thomas Cole's "Old
Age" painting, which was also used for the album art, the lyrics reference the Christian parable of the Good Samaritan. Usually a happy tale of hospitality, Marcolin's epic vocalizations could chill the soul and wrench tears from your eyes like any opera. In stark contrast to this is the re-arrangement of Chopin's "Marche Funebrae", complete with low-quality guitar pieces and black metal-esque chanting.
Of course, any review of Nightfall
is not complete without talking about that one song, the ugly step-child which makes most cringe in fear at the thought of Candlemass
. From a listener's perspective only, there is absolutely nothing wrong with "Bewitched
." However, when one sees the video, directed by ex-Bathory
Akerlund (who later went on to direct some of the best videos in metal, rock and pop), one is assaulted with more cheese than Manowar
performing in the middle of Wisconsin. From the deliberately slow marching of the band at the beginning, Marcolin leaping out from behind trees, pointing and smiling as he sings "You are bewitched!" at everyone, to Marcolin leading a bunch of young metal-heads (including Mayhem
's dead vocalist...Dead
) in what looks like proto-hardcore dancing, this is perhaps the worst music video in metal and will drive one screaming in fright from the sight or thought of Candlemass
. Even I, a growing fan, cannot take Messiah
Marcolin seriously after having seen that video. But I digress.
All in all, this album, while not as dark as the first album, is definitely epic...us enough to merit its place in the dark halls of Candlemass
' orchestra of doom. Suggest you listen to the album before seeing the video (I still can't understand those who say that its ridiculousness actually makes it dark and gloomy), but which ever way you slice it, this album wins top marks for being just fucking epic!