Candlemass - Nightfall
Active Records
Epic Doom / Heavy Metal
10 songs (46:35)
Release year: 1987
Reviewed by Kyle

Though I hadn’t even been born yet during the early glory years of doom metal pioneers Candlemass, I still couldn’t help but wonder after listening to Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, my initial venture into the genre, for the first time: How exactly can doom metal get any better than this? And furthermore, how in the world would Candlemass be able to top this masterpiece? I mean, the album title just says it all. Much like Venom’s Black Metal, EDM was nothing short of a genre inventing album; the only difference is that most epic doom is still compared to the original thing to this very day, while black metal has strayed so far away from its roots that the genre's origins are barely recognizable in its modern form. But amazingly, Candlemass put out a sophomore album that is not only an extremely worthy follow-up to their groundbreaking debut, but also, in my opinion, a better record as a whole. It’s heavier, it’s catchier, it’s diverse…er?, and just an all-around improvement in every area. It is called Nightfall, and it is simply perfect.

From the very moment you set eyes on the gorgeous piece of artwork by Thomas Cole featured on the album’s cover, you just know that that the music contained within is going to be as equally beautiful. This is exactly how doom metal should sound: Chillingly ominous, but very melodic, with a good deal of traditional heavy metal influence involved, and featuring haunting lyrics sung in stunning, operatic fashion. This is Messiah Marcolin’s first record with Candlemass, and for me is the definitive vocalist for the band, and possibly the entire genre. The intro to the album paired with the following first proper track is simply timeless; Gothic Stone teases you with its mesmerizing Gothic melody before The Well Of Souls abruptly takes its place, expanding upon the intro in an utterly memorable and classic Candlemass song. As soon as you hear Messiah sing the foreboding opening lyric: “I bind unto myself / today the strong name of the trinity”, with his signature stunning tone and insanely good vibrato, you’re completely hooked and will want to listen to Nightfall until the very last seconds of Black Candles.

But Nightfall is certainly not all doom ‘n’ gloom; songs like the album-defining At The Gallows End with its alternating acoustic, doom, and heavy metal sections, and Dark Are The Veils Of Death, which seems to contain just a splash of thrash metal influence, are extremely entertaining, and – dare I say it – fun! Some of the riffs and solos present are enough to make one want to headbang just as hard as they would with Iron Maiden; Candlemass truly puts the “Fun” in “Funeral”. Who knew that such an impending feeling of doom and certain death could make for such a good time? However, the fun moments are always kept in check by the bleak and masterfully written lyrics, including tales of occultism (The Well Of Souls) and the passing of life (Mourners Lament). Remember people, you’re allowed to have a good time listening to Candlemass, just as long as you keep in mind that either you or a loved one is about to die. The dark instrumentals Codex Gigas and the essential Marche Funebre (A variation of Frederic Chopin’s Funeral March) are here to remind you of that.

The truly amazing thing about this album (And Candlemass’ first three or four albums, really), though, is that there’s simply nothing today that comes close to the level of masterful melancholy that Nightfall captures so well in musical form. Many pioneering bands of metal subgenres have become obsolete today, both in their original material and in their modern day releases (Assuming they still make music). Candlemass, however, has not only created an album that is simply a timeless piece of classic doom metal, but has also prospered over the decades as a premier act of the genre, and still reigns supreme today. So in effect, this is not only a classic album, but it’s also one created by a wholly essential and extremely consistent band. Right now, I will unashamedly admit that this review is the product of a fanboy's obsession, and that Candlemass is my favorite doom metal band, bar none.

So, in conclusion, this is an absolutely essential album that every doom metal fan NEEDS to own. If you’re new to the genre, don’t pass Nightfall up because you’re content with Epicus Doomicus Metallicus; essential tracks like The Well Of Souls, Dark Are The Veils Of Death and Bewitched await you in the depths of this dark masterpiece, and every song is a killer (Even the four short instrumentals!). This follow-up is just so wondrously and perfectly crafted that I find it superior to Candlemass’ debut; other suitable album titles for it are Epicus Doomicus Sequelicus or Perfectcus Doomicus Metallicus. If you haven’t figured out what I’m trying to tell you yet, I’ll lay it out plain for you: If you haven’t done so already, GO BUY THIS. This is simply a must-own, and an absolutely essential album for any doom metal fan.

Killing Songs :
Kyle quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Candlemass that we have reviewed:
Candlemass - The Door to Doom reviewed by Andy and quoted 79 / 100
Candlemass - Death Thy Lover (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Candlemass - Psalms For The Dead reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Candlemass - Ancient Dreams reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Candlemass - Death Magic Doom reviewed by Adam and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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