on October 8, 2003
Leif Edling, undisputed father of DOOM, takes his funereal elegies of torment and despair to another level with this sophomore release from Candlemass. This album could not have topped its predecessor no matter what. Instead, Leif evolves his musical creation and adds some faster tempos to the mix, thereby expanding the boundaries of DOOM.
The song titles should paint this album's feel quite well. Gothic Stone is just some weird sound effect which only lasts a few seconds before "Well of Souls" kicks in and launches this musical hearse into the abyss. "Well" is a little faster than what we're used to hearing from them at this point, but no less doomy, and really sets the whole tone of the album: heavier and faster. The guitar tone is more refined, unbelievably heavier than before, and ear splitting. New singer Messiah Marcolin hits the notes as he should and has a great voice, but seems a little overwrought in places. New lead guitarist Lars Johanson adds a shred factor which the band had not had before, and is more than welcome.
Leif's lyrics really shine on this release, specifically on the demands-your-attention tales on "At the Gallow's End" and "Samarithan", and "Mourner's Lament" tragically defines the feelings of loss upon the death of a loved one.
"Bewitched" I believe to be the strongest song among this batch of classics--no easy feat--with its undeniably classic driving doom riffs and catchy chorus.
The Bonus Disc also holds a rare gem: "Battlecry". How this did not progress beyond demo form I cannot guess. Fortunately for us, Leif's demos are always of such good quality that they could easily pass as properly produced recordings. This song is the definition of "lost classic", and again fast paced doom weaving a tale of Crusaders in battle.
I can completely understand how this recording can be widely acknowledged as the band's best. While I don't agree with that assessment entirely, I fully recommend it as a companion piece to Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. Those two albums show the Master Leif Edling as he creates and redefines his own musical genre.
on March 30, 2002
Candlemass, the 80's reincarnation of old Black Sabbath, continued their tradition of great doom metal on "Nightfall," which was also the first of their albums to feature the superhuman vocals of Messiah Marcolin. People are always talking about the operatic style of King Diamond, but Messiah is FAR superior to King. Additionally, Messiah somehow manages to look EVEN LESS COOL than King Diamond, which would be difficult for any normal human, but Messiah makes it look easy.
Songs on "Nightfall" are fantastic. "The Well of Souls" starts things off strongly; "At the Gallows End" "Samarithan" "Dark Are the Veils of Death" "Mourners Lament" and "Bewitched" are all great as well. The other songs are instrumentals, but they're great instrumentals. "Nightfall" was also the first album to feature Lars Johannson's virtuosic guitar solos, which add another touch of brilliance to these already awesome songs.
The bonus disc contains demos of Bewitched and Battlecry, live performances of The Well of Souls and Dark Are the Veils of Death, and studio outtakes of At the Gallows End and Mourners Lament, as well as a twenty five minute interview with Messiah, Lars and bassist/songwriter Leif Edling, which covers the band's creation of "Nightfall." There is also a music video(!!) of the song Bewitched, which is sort of cool, because it's Candlemass, but is also not cool because the production is not too good, and Messiah still doesn't look cool.
The songs on "Nightfall" are not as catchy as those on "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus," but Candlemass' move toward the more grandiose atmosphere of their sophomore effort is still a very strong one, and well worth the buying for fans of doom metal. If you like Black Sabbath and don't own Candlemass CD's or haven't heard of them, BUY THEM IMMEDIATELY.
on November 20, 1998
From the first track to the final song you will be in awe! Messiah's vocals make Halford's seem weak.If you don't have this CD in your collection at home, then you need to buy this today! You won't be disappointed.I am not a saleman I am just a huge fan of Candlemass(Only when Messiah is singing)If you ever get a chance to see this killer Swedish band live, sell everything you need to come up with the money to do so!
on June 26, 1999
Messiah, has a unique vibrato "trill" to his voice with much support and heavy laden power!! It sounds really cool. Great job capturing the heavy gothic feel, and excellent vocal execusion.
If you are a fan of dark gothic tectures and vocalists that can actually sing, then you will enjoy this unique swedish metal band.....
on March 18, 2012
'Nightfall' is an all time favourite, it's the embodiment of doom; crushing, bombastic, grandiose. It's the rare album with songs good enough and consistent enough to justify a song-by-song review.
Momentum is the key to `the Well of Souls', the relentless seven-minute juggernaut that opens the album with a backbone of double kick drums and pummelling mid-paced riffs. It is the perfect encapsulation of the epic, monumental Candlemass sound, and the best place to start if you've not heard the band before. My favourite bit of the entire album is the bridge section following the chorus, over which Messiah sings 'the well of sou-ouls must st-aa-aay sealed...' over a crescendo of clashing guitar chords, I was born for musical moments such as these.
The interlude that follows gives a pummelling blow-by-blow account of the album's incredible drum sound. I'm not sure how Candlemass managed to achieve this gargantuan reverberation (they failed on their anaemic third album), but it's a true lesson in heaviness. The next song proper, 'At the Gallows End' is of course an all-time Candlemass classic, ushering in a gentle acoustic strum layered over (yet more) thundering drums. It's one of their catchiest songs married to one of their most harrowing and evocative lyrical concepts; forget 'Hallowed be thy Name', here is the greatest metal song ever written about a condemned prisoner's final day. This is less about building momentum than it is about crafting perfection. It doesn't physically crush you like the opening track; it emotionally crushes you by appealing to your better nature, your sorrow, and your pity.
'Samarithan' is next, simpler in structure but no less devastating, and another undisputed classic. The lumbering cathedral of Sabbath-styled power chords precedes an adaption of the familiar Good Samaritan parable. Once you've heard it a couple of times, the chorus becomes one of the most memorable and heart wrenching you will ever hear.
Side 2 is a perfect mirror. 'Dark are the Veils of Death', much like 'the Well of Souls', is another rumbling, crushing, clashing seven minute epic, and probably the most extreme song Candlemass ever wrote. The lyrics deal with the fear of dying, specifically the moment before the final destiny of the soul is revealed. The lurching, menacing 'Mourner's Lament' follows, perhaps the heaviest song on the album; it's about mourning a child's death, with sinister church bells completing the suffocating, pummelling percussive atmosphere.
It's impossible to describe the final song, `Bewitched', without crediting Lars Johansson's performance. In truth, most metal guitarists do not understand tasteful melodies, either that or they suffocate them through some elaborate torture method of fretboard strangulation. Beautiful and tasteful solos appear for every song on `Nightfall', but best of all is the solo on 'Bewitched', which will make you weep to the tune of sorrowful perfection, unless you have no soul.
Make no mistake though, bassist Leif Edling is in charge here, and the calibre of song-writing is the main reason why `Nightfall' is so good. Edling has a relentless preoccupation with perfection and an overarching vision for how Candlemass should sound, which he follows through with dogged determination. Most importantly, he has the ability to critique his own work; case in point, there's an interesting outtake of 'At the Gallows End' on the reissue which is more lyrically sophisticated than the final edit, but he evidently felt the need to rewrite the lyrics in order to fit the song better. He was right, as always, and the final version buries the outtake, but lesser song-writers would've released the original version without hesitation.
In comparing this album to its monumental predecessor; 'Nightfall' is the more complete record, the songs are better crafted, the lyrics more interesting, the production heavier. Whether you prefer Johan Längquist or Messiah Marcolin is a matter of personal preference, arguments can be made for either side. These records together are unsurpassable, for any band inspired by them, and for Candlemass themselves.
on January 18, 2012
Candlemass, the 80's reincarnation of old Black Sabbath, continued their tradition of great doom metal on "Nightfall," which was also the first of their albums to feature the superhuman vocals of Messiah Marcolin.
on May 31, 2014
Candlemass returns with their second epic doom creation: Nightfall. This 47 minute onslaught of depression is defined by the first appearance of classic Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin. The heavyset, poufy-haired monk takes on the task of filling the hole left by the departure of Johan Längqvist. These are big shoes to fill for sure, but he doesn’t back down from the challenge. Messiah’s bellowing operatic (and slightly ridiculous) vocals give this band an entirely new look, but don’t for one second think that’s a bad thing. His performance is one for the ages, even if it’s not as immediately likeable as Länqvist’s on EDM. In addition to the new vocals, this album is also the first to feature Jan Lindh on drums and Lars Johansson on lead guitar. In other words, Candlemass’s classic lineup has come together.
Nightfall opens up with one of four instrumentals on the album that leads you into the initial blast of doom: The Well of Souls. A seven and a half minute track which seems specifically written to show off the power and awesomeness of the new vocals, as well showcase some doomy new riffs Leif has written. It doesn’t stop there though. Another slick little instrumental sets up the delivery of “At the Gallows End,” one of the most well-known and beloved songs in Candlemass’s discography.
Next up is “Samarithan,” a cool rendition of the Biblical story that offers a slower and more relaxing listen than the energetic first two songs. After another instrumental segue you arrive at “Dark Are the Veils of Death” and “Mourner’s Lament.” The former is another quick paced track that, while not an initial standout, is still pretty cool. The latter however is a true dose of classic doom. As you might expect from the title, there’s no room for happiness in this one. Expect slow, crushing Leif riffs accompanied by the ever powerful voice of Messiah.
Lastly, we are given perhaps the most iconic and well-known song ever written by the band: “Bewitched.” Not one of my initial favorites, but after listening to the album a few times it started to grow on me. It’s got some catchy riffs as well as a chorus that will get stuck in your head. And if that’s not enough for you, just watch the music video. It may just be the most ridiculous (and hilarious) one you’ve ever seen. The album then fades out with the last instrumental “Black Candles,” which is an ideal creepy mood-setter.
All in all this is an extremely solid effort put forth by the band. While I wouldn’t call it their best, I’d still highly recommend it to any metal fan who enjoys doom or is looking for something new.
on September 14, 2000
Messiah Marcolin's first album with Candlemass, and in my view Candlemass' best work, surpassing even the astounding debut. More Eurogothic doom metal is in store here, with Messiah's quasi-operatic vocals adding to the atmosphere. "Nightfall" includes several classic songs from Sweden's best band of the '80s: "Well of Souls," "At the Gallows' End," "Samarithan," "Dark Are the Veils of Death," "Mourner's Lament," and "Bewitched" all found themselves onto the best-of double CD ("As It Is, As It Was") in some form or other! The lyrics are also quite good, and so is the cover art, a painting called "Voyage of Life: Old Age" which I stumbled upon to my amazement at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago.
on December 13, 2009
I have been aware of Candlemass for many years, but did not have any music from them. Recently, I decided to make the step and procure this second album from them--Nightfall--that was originally released in 1987. Nightfall marks the debut of vocalist Messiah Marcolin. What makes this Swedish band unique is Marcolin; this one-of-a-kind singer vocalizes in an operatic style--also, I like how he uses vibrato. Candlemass sounds to me like a combination of hard rock and metal. They are a heavy band, but the songs are mostly slow in tempo. The group reminds me of Black Sabbath. In addition, I like how Nightfall emanates a gothic-sounding atmosphere. This remastered album sports ten compositions--four of these are instrumentals: "Gothic Stone," "Codex Gigas," "Marche Funebre," and "Black Candles." All of the material on this album is satisfying. When it comes to the guitar playing, guitarists Lars Johansson and Mats Bjorkman provide memorable and entertaining rhythm guitar work. My favorite cuts are "Gothic Stone," "The Well of Souls," and "Bewitched." The disc is just over 46 minutes. There is also a second bonus disc that comes with this album. It consists of demos, live tunes, studio outtakes, an audio interview, and a video of "Bewitched." I like the CD booklet. Bass guitarist Leif Edling furnishes commentary on all of the material of Nightfall and on the bonus disc. In addition, the song lyrics to Nightfall are included along with color and black-and-white photos of the band. Nightfall is a recommendable piece of work.
on June 5, 1999
Which ever you prefer, this is it. Slow ,heavy, memorable, simply one of the best doom metal albums ever made. Messaih is one of (if not the best) vocalist in all of metal.