Candlemass (1984-1994, 1997-2002, 2004-present): a Doom Metal band from Stockholm, Sweden.
his Swedish English language singing act was one of the few 80s acts that managed to update their sound completely in preparation for the demands of the 1990s. Successfully switching from heavy-as-hell doom laden styles to incorporating more content and style than just brute force, Candlemass incorporated the styles of classic British Metal like Iron Maiden, Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath resulting in a more marketable and influential sound than much of their competition. Nonetheless, Candlemass have been widely considered one of the heaviest bands ever. Founded by ex-Nemisis man Leif Edling, the chief song writer and bass player recruited the services of Lasse Johansson (guitar), Mats "Mappe" Bjorkman (guitar) and Matz Ekstrom (drums) they made their vinyl debut in 1986 with Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, a competent and aptly titled album that described fully its content featuring some of the most doom laden, snails paced sounds since Sabbath's first efforts.
Nightfall (1988) showed the band at their creative peak and got them high marks by all who heard. The album also featured a new line-up of Edling, Johansson and Bjorkman with new members Messiah Marcolin (vocals) and Jan Lindh (drums).
Ancient Dreams (1988) further consolidated their hold on the Doom market. It also secured them a deal with 'Music For Nations' to release the follow-up Tales Of Creation (1989), an album that received criticism because the band were perceived as unable to change their sound enough and was becoming stale, but after the live set Live (1990), an album that showcased their June 9th Stockholm show featuring Marcolin apparently in his trademark monk outfit, the band took a break.
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Marcolin was subsequently replaced with Tomas Vikstrom for the Chapter VI album in 1992 after which the act split which was a pity for it was the album that showed progression in their style was beginning to form.
In 1998 the act would return with a faster paced, less doom-influenced sound to release Dactylis Glomerata (1998), From The 13th Sun (1999), and the double live CD Doomed For Life (2003), finally converting fully to the modern age and with their original line-up back in form. The latest incarnation wouldn't last, however, for they split in mid 2004 due to artistic differences.
In November of that year, the band announced that they had re-united. In 2005 they released the self-titled Candlemass, and won a Swedish Grammy for it soon after.
In 2007, Messiah was out for good, new vocalist, Robert Lowe (ex-Solitude Aeturnus) replaced him in time for the recording of King of the Grey Islands (2007).
On March 31, 2007, the band celebrated a delayed 20th anniversary. To celebrate the celebration, original singer Johan Längqvist appeared live with the band for the first time; the event was later released as a DVD.
Mats "Mappe" Bjorkman was sentenced to serve two years for grand theft in March 2008; convicted of stealing some 35,000 CDs and DVDs priced at around 3 million Sek (Around $500,000 US).Named Death Magic Doom after a German festival, the next album arrived in 2009.
Candlemass then signed to the Austrian label 'Napalm Records', who released the album, Psalms for the Dead, in June 2012.
In June 2012, Robert Lowe left and replaced for the band's upcoming shows by longtime friend and collaborator, Mats Levén (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen/ex-Therion...)
The anniversary live album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus - Live at Roadburn 2011 (2013) finally appeared.
Despite earlier claims that Psalms for the Dead would be their final album, bassist Leif Edling re-opened his interest in recording new music with Candlemass. To coincide with the 30th anniversary of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. After a set of compilations, Death Thy Lover EP (2016), House of Doom EP (2018) and The Door to Doom (2019) would follow, the last featuring the line-up of Johan Längquist (vocals), Mats "Mappe" Björkman (guitars (rhythm)), Lars "Lasse" Johansson (guitars (lead)), Leif Edling (bass) and Jan Lindh (drums).
Footnote: Members Michael Amott (guitar; ex-(Arch Enemy, Carcass, Spiritual Beggars, Armageddon, Carnage, Kreator)), Bjorn Flodquist (vocals), Jejo Percovic (drums) and Mats Stahl (guitar) have also been featured in this band.
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Candlemass performing live at Wacken Open Air in August 2010. Photo by: Dark Apostrophe.
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