Candlemass - Nightfall (1987)Release ID: 480

Candlemass - Nightfall (1987) Cover
Ben Ben / March 26, 2019 / Comments 0 / 2

Candlemass' debut album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus caused shockwaves on release. Finally, a band took what Black Sabbath had hinted at and turned it into a full blown epic doomy slab of real metal. One of the greatest things about that album was the vocals of Johan Langquist, so there was much trepidation at the news that Johan would not be returning for their second album.

Enter Messiah Marcolin! Some hate him. Some think he is the greatest metal singer ever. But none can ignore the performance that he puts in on this album. His operatic soaring vocals, while fairly over the top, took Candlemass' sound to whole new level. I see a few detractors below that think his style doesn't fit the band, but I disagree. But enough about Messiah, what are the tracks like? Nightfall is filled with awesome doom metal and if maybe not quite as consistently excellent as the debut, makes for an extremely entertaining experience. It's hard to pinpoint just why I don't rate it quite as high as the first one, but perhaps it's simply due to the occasional riff not hitting the mark, and a couple of the short instrumentals simply treading water.

But the double of Gothic Stone and The Well of Souls start the album off beautifully, with a couple of riffs they are to die for. Samarithan and Dark Are the Veils of Death are brilliant examples of doom done well, and closer Black Candles moves me a lot more than a two-minute outro really should. If you like traditional doom metal, then you'll love this. It's that simple!

Ludo Ludo / April 24, 2021 / Comments 0 / 1

Nothing more to add to the previous positive reviews. This is the only Candlemass album I own (on vinyl), I bought it some months after it came out in spring 1988 at the glorious "Disco D'Oro" record shop in Bologna (Italy): I still remember that because in my village there was no chance to get Heavy Metal records at the time, so I waited for my first trip in a bigger town! And the only reason I bought Nightfall (it has been my first Heavy Metal vinyl ever, I only owned Iron Maiden, Metallica and Judas Priest cassettes at the time) was after reading its review in an Italian Heavy Metal magazine which ended with the phrase: "You all buy this album, it's legend" !
I had not a clue what to expect when back home but when I first listened to Gothic Stone/The Well of Souls I immediately understood I was about to enter a different dimension to what I was used before that day... and that I was about to love it for decades! I had never heard of Doom Metal before, I hardly knew some Black Sabbath songs and that was it. Today I know a bit more about music, but I have to say this album has still the same impact on me, Messiah's voice is absolutely perfect for that sound in every track. Nightfall still stays among my first ten albums of all time, and once more I have to agree (and thank) with that old review, unrepeatable!

illusionist illusionist / August 09, 2019 / Comments 0 / 1

Doom Metal doesn't get any better

Candlemass' sophomore effort Nightfall is very close to being a perfect album. Though there are only six full songs, each is of the absolute highest quality you can find in the Metal genre. Soaring tragic-operatic vocals, riffs of pure theatrical evil, and climatic solos galore. The absolutely massive entrance of "The Well of Souls" after the build-up of "Gothic Stone" should tell you all you need to know. That moment sets the tone and Nightfall never relinquishes its powerful, ominous grip.

The aforementioned "Well of Souls" is perhaps the single best song of this band's career in this listener's opinion, but "Samarithan" and "Bewitched" are also masterpieces of the Doom genre that will never ever be matched. The other three tracks aren't far behind. Candlemass stick to their sound, but it's truly their own (they're the pioneers of Epic Doom) and they do it so fucking well. You can tell they are energized by the (at the time) new presence of Messiah Marcolin's pipes, which are an obvious highlight. The album doesn't get repetitive (a common problem in Doom) because the songs all have their own fascinating lyrical story that perfectly match their destructive or mournful riffs. Some gloomy instrumental interludes are also mixed in throughout to amplify the atmosphere to heights never reached on the debut. This is an - no, THE - essential of Doom. If you have any interest in the genre at all, you need to listen to this seminal release. 

I am the master of the ancient etude

I'll play for your joy, for your soul, for your doom

My fingers, they dance upon the strings like fire

Weaving a spell of my burning desiiiiire

Sonny Sonny / September 10, 2022 / Comments 0 / 0

Candlemass shook the metal world's foundations with their debut, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, an album so fundamental to epic doom metal that the genre was named after it. It's massive riffs and larger-than-life theatricalities laid down the fundamentals of the genre for the succeeding generations to follow. So, having perfectly defined an entire genre at the first attempt, where do you go from there? Well for Lief Edling he decided to do it again, only more so! To this end Candlemass recruited the immense talent and larger-than-life personality of Messiah Marcolin from little-known act Mercy (where he was drummer in addition to singing) to take over vocal duties from Johan Längquist who was only credited on the debut as a guest performer due to his unwillingness to commit to Candlemass. There is no doubt that Messiah grabs hold of Nightfall and takes full advantage of the opportunity presented to him by turning in an amazing and, yes, epic vocal performance where he draws a line in the sand for the gold standard of epic doom singers. Yet despite Messiah's excellent vocals, this is no one-man show as the rest of the band are in career-defining mode. The guitarists sound great with the riffs having as much depth as any you will hear on a doom metal album and Lars Johansson's solos are exhilharatingly performed.

The real stars of the Nightfall show though are surely the songs which are incredible and, as a collection for me, top the debut and are surely the crown jewels of Leif Edling's songwriting career. If you kick off an album with as devastating a one-two combination as Well of Souls and At the Gallows End (my absolute favourite Candlemass track) then you know you are in for one hell of a ride. Candlemass take massive Sabbathian riffs and draw them to their logical conclusion, the quickening riff of At the Gallows End and the main riff of Dark Are the Veils of Death would leave even Tony Iommi gasping for breath and the way the egyptian-sounding melody is interwoven into the main riff and given extra prominence following the chorus of Well of Souls is masterful. Drums are seldom discussed much in relation to doom metal, but the echoing thuds and percussive interjections, such as the tubular bell during Mourner's Lament, all add to the pomp and circumstance of the album's imperious atmosphere and Jan Lindh should be commended for his controlled and vital contribution.

I have really been caning Nightfall over the last few weeks and during that time it has worked it's way up and up in my affections, now lodged firmly as one of my all-time favourites, deposing the debut as my favourite Candlemass album and even knocking A New Dark Age off it's perch as my favourite epic doom album. This is the very definition of epic doom to my mind and should be required listening for any doom metal fanatic.

SilentScream213 SilentScream213 / June 14, 2020 / Comments 0 / 0

Candlemass enter one of their most celebrated lineups here with the addition of Messiah and record the great Nightfall. By 1987, Candlemass was pretty much indisputably the best Doom band around, especially solidifying the fact after dropping a follow up album just as amazing as their debut (both of which remain their finest works in most people’s opinion).

They continue the same style as their debut, adding an epic and even uplifting sound to the slow and simple Doom genre, rife with religious symbolism as well as occult fantasy. Messiah and leif grab all the attention here, as Leif wrote most if not all of the music, including many of Trad Doom’s most memorable riffs, and Messiah puts on a vocal performance that would sound at home in an opera show. The act works well for the epic Doom rockers, and many of the songs tell small tales that effectively play off this aesthetic.

Unfortunately, while the debut was strictly 6 great songs, this album has a bit of filler found in mostly pointless interludes between songs. At the Gallows’ End and Samarithan are two of the greatest songs the band ever wrote, but the filler puts this album just below the debut in my opinion.