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Music / Candlemass

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Candlemass - epic and depressing at the same time.

Candlemass is a Swedish Doom Metal band formed in 1985 by bassist Leif Edling. One of trope codifiers of doom metal, and particularly of a subgenre called "epic doom metal", their first album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is not only considered a landmark album but the textbook example of doom metal. They disbanded in 1993, but reformed four years later with a new lineup (Leif Edling being the only consistent member). A past lineup of Candlemass then reformed in 2002, before breaking up again... And reforming again in 2004.

Current lineup:

  • Johan Längqvist - vocals
  • Lars Johansson - lead guitar
  • Mats "Mappe" Björkman - rhythm guitar
  • Leif Edling - bass
  • Jan Lindh - drums

Past members:

  • Matz Ekström - drums
  • Thomas Vikström - vocals
  • Björn Flodkvist - vocals
  • Jejo Perkovic - drums
  • Mats Ståhl - rhythm guitar
  • Messiah Marcolin - vocals
  • Robert Lowe (of Solitude Aeturnus) - vocals
  • Carl Westholm - keyboard (currently a session musician)
  • Mats Levén - vocals


  • Epicus Doomicus Metallicus - 1986
  • Nightfall - 1987
  • Ancient Dreams - 1988
  • Tales of Creation - 1989
  • Chapter VI - 1992
  • Dactylis Glomerata - 1998
  • From the 13th Sun - 1999
  • Candlemass - 2005
  • King of the Grey Islands - 2007
  • Death Magic Doom - 2009
  • Psalms for the Dead - 2012
  • The Door to Doom - 2019
  • Sweet Evil Sun - 2022

Candlemass provides the following trope examples:

  • Album Title Drop: The intentionally almost-but-not-quite ones for two of the albums that don't have a Title Track, From the 13th Sun and King of the Grey Islands:
    "Drifting from the prison planet, I fell into the 13th sun..." (Elephant Star)
    "I'm the king, the ruler of the grey islands..." (Emperor of the Void)
  • Bookends: The last, self-titled song on the album Tales of Creation ends with the exact same riff used on the album's intro.
  • Break-Up Song: "Cyclo-F" on From the 13th Sun. The lyrics are extremely acerbic and one can wonder if Leif was going through an acrimonious divorce in early 1999? The target being a woman is given away by the song title that Leif explained as "menstruation pills" when describing the album on the older version of the band's website.
  • Canis Latinicus: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus.
  • Cover Version:
    • Of sorts; the last track on Ancient Dreams is a medley of Black Sabbath songs.
    • The band also did a cross-cover EP with Entombed, recording their song "To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth" while Entombed did a version of "Black Dwarf".
    • There is also an obscure EP called Sjunger Sigge Fürst (1993) which contains recordings of four songs by the Swedish actor, singer and radio presenter Sigge Fürst. See Out-of-Genre Experience below.
  • Doom Metal: Of the "traditional doom metal" variety, or more specifically, "epic doom metal".
  • Epic Rocking: The majority of their output. Across the 13 studio albums they have so far, there are 23 songs longer than 7 minutes each, and songs between 6 and 7 minutes long are too numerous to list. The longest five tracks are "Dustflow" (9:24), "Cyclo-F" (9:17), "Demon’s Gate" (9:12), "The Day and the Night" (8:52) and "Where the Runes Still Speak" (8:41). Ancient Dreams however takes the cake as the album with the most songs of "epic" length (over 7 minutes) on it — 4.
  • Four More Measures: On "A Sorcerer's Pledge", Johan starts singing as soon as guitar starts, then hums for a while and starts again, this time correctly. According to Leif, it was a soundcheck that they kept in.
  • Fairytale Motifs / Fractured Fairytale: The lyrics of "Julie Laughs No More" and "Dancing in the Temple (Of the Mad Queen Bee)".
  • Grief Song: "Mourner's Lament" is sung from the viewpoint of a father whose son has died (see Outliving One's Offspring below).
  • I Am the Band: Leif Edling is the sole consistent member of the band, and is in a way the leader. Probably helped by the fact that there's only a handful Candlemass songs that are not written entirely by Edling (both music and lyrics).
  • Instrumentals: Over half of their studio albums (and both EPs released during Mats Levén's tenure in the band) contain at least one instrumental track each, ranging from small intros / outros / interludes ("Cylinder", "Mythos", "The Opal City" etc.) to full-fledged compositions rivalling bona fide songs for length ("The Goose", "Into The Unfathomed Tower", "The Man Who Fell from the Sky" etc.) The cup goes to Nightfall where out of ten tracks, four are instrumentals (including the famous rendition of "Marche Funèbre" by Frédéric Chopin).
  • Insufferable Genius: Why Messiah Marcolin will never play with them again. While he may be an incredibly talented and iconic singer, his massive ego, diva-like behavior, and utter inability to work with anyone in a band situation have all ensured that they will never even consider bringing him on board again.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Samarithan" is one of the heaviest songs on Nightfall and sounds very depressing, but the lyrics are about a man who shelters and feeds a homeless man and, on his own death bed 50 years later, is taken to Heaven by angels in return.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: "Mourner's Lament" is about a father grieving the death of his son.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • "Into the Unfathomed Tower" from Tales of Creation sounds more like Yngwie Malmsteen than the usual doomy fare. Actually, the band has many fast songs in their repertoire, but "Into the Unfathomed Tower" is especially notable for indulging in guitar pyrotechnics for most of its running time.
    • 1993's Sjunger Sigge Fürst EP strays pretty far from the default genre, containing deliberately punkish recordings of songs done in the 40s and 50s by the Swedish actor and singer Sigge Fürst (whose face also adorns the cover). You can tell it was done for fun, even though the band did split up shortly afterwards.
  • Rhyming with Itself: The word "life" is used to rhyme with itself in the final verse of "At The Gallows End".
  • Start My Own: In addition to his various side projects (namely Krux, Avatarium, and The Doomsday Kingdom), Leif Edling started Abstrakt Algebra after the 1994 breakup (and wound up repurposing most of the material that was intended for their sophomore album with Dactylis Glomerata), while Marcolin started Memento Mori with members of Hexenhaus after his first split with the band.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Fortuneteller" from the House of Doom EP and "Bridge of the Blind" from The Door to Doom album are acoustic, mellow songs, even if the lyrics aren't exactly lighthearted. "Thirst", a bonus track from Dactylis Glomerata, is instrumental-wise mostly a piano "romance song", though the vocal delivery and the lyrics noticeably contrast with that (the contradiction becoming rather jarring during the chorus). "Galatea" and "Oil" are mostly very mellow but segue into guitar-driven heavy parts.
  • Teen Genius: Messiah Marcolin was no older than nineteen when he joined.
  • Trope Codifier: They're not the first doom metal band and not the only codifiers of the genre, but they were responsible for many of the stereotypical characteristics associated with it. Since they were, arguably, the most popular doom metal band (unless you count Black Sabbath), they were highly influential on later bands.
  • Trope Makers: Of "epic doom metal".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Not the band really famous for that, but there are a few notable examples such as "Blumma Apt", "Elephant Star", "Witches", "Oil" and "Death's Wheel".
  • Word Salad Title: The names of songs from the two albums recorded with Björn Flodkvist are, more often than not, deliberately odd and cryptic, not appearing in the lyrics at all or having no relation to them. This adds to the general aura of weirdness surrounding these albums. The habit carried over to Leif's other band Krux, especially for its first album.