30 Years Ago: CANDLEMASS release Nightfall


This was our breakthrough album! Epicus didn't sell much when it came out, but NIGHTFALL really hit off from the very beginning. A couple of gigs in England and one at the Dynamo Festival in Holland and life never was the same again!

CANDLEMASS released their second album Nightfall through Axis (later Active) Records on this day in 1987.

Candlemass - Bewitched (Official Video, Jonas Åkerlund director)

All of a sudden we were darlings of the press and the hottest metal band on the planet! Gigs, parties, work, laughs...Never looked back! We had offers from major labels but stayed with London based Active and thought we would be huge. We didn't, but got a pretty nice career anyway! I have no regrets. - Nightfall 30 Years

Axis Records was formed by Metal Forces Magazine founders Bernard Doe and Dave Constable (who was for a time CANDELMASS' manager). You can read more about the origins of Metal Forces and the scene around Shades Records in Soho here.

Here is Bernard's review from Metal Forces. Obviously a bit of a journalistic conflict, but it's hard to argue with him...

"Nightfall" is CANDLEMASS' second full album (discounting the "Nemesis" EP) and hows a huge leap forward on their debut "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" which is initself an essential buy for any true metal fan.
What I find exciting about this band most of all is their ability to play metal so powerful (not fast but POWERFUL) that any genuine HM fan cannot fail to succumb to their charms. On "Nightfall" we get six main tracks - every one a gem - which should appeal to everyone from the hardest thrasher to the average MAIDEN or PRIEST fan - and of course everyone in between too.
Put simply, CANDLEMASS have mixed some early SABBATH (circa "Master Of Reality"), some early RAINBOW (circa "Rising") some METALLICA (no rip-offs though) and added plenty of their own original style to produce a unique sound. Why the hell can't any English bands realize this is the sort of HM fans really want to hear - not some watered down American AOR sounding crap.
So on to the songs. The LP opens with the haunting intro of "Gothic Stone" before launching into "The Well Of Souls", an epic in the "stargazer" mould but heavier. Check out the middle section which is unbelievably intense. At all times though the song retains a powerful melody.
"At The Gallow's End" is up next and from a slow acoustic intro a riff of mammoth proportions bursts through. This is one of the two more up tempo songs, which is a headbangers delight and also has a stunning lead break from the new Yngwie - Lasse Johansson. "Samarithan" closes the side and we're at real doom pace here, but this sounds as though there are ten rhythm guitarists playing at the same time - the chorus is remarkably haunting as well.
Leif Edling's lyrics are at all times faultless and sung brilliantly by ex-MERCY vocalist Messiah Marcollin who has a unique voice which is so suited to the changing moods and tempos in CANDLEMASS' music. Each song tells a different mythical tale and is lyrically far more intelligent than anything DIO has ever come up with.
Side two opens with a revamped version of that old Chopin classic "The Death March". This will obviously become the bands theme song! One of the best tracks of 1987, is next "Dark Are The Veils Of Death" which surpasses everything for heavy riffing.
"Mourners Lamanet" is pure doom which grows into an epic after a couple of plays. The story of a father whose son is lost and his torment over the boys death. Again an ultra-heavy middle section which I'm sure METALLICA would love to have created.
"Bewitched" is the LP's closer and is another melodic, but heavy, epic and again the rhythm guitar of Mats Mape Bjorkman is working overtime.
Leading to the ominous outro of "Black Candles" the LP ends in the style it began. Power, heaviness, class - CANDLEMASS have discovered a formula to keep everybody happy.
A special mention must go to the production on this platter for Ragne Wahlquist who has achieved a crisp heavy sound that compliments CANDLEMASS' style perfectly.
All in all a truly devastating release which should also be available in the US on Metal Blade shortly. 99/100

From Dave Reynolds' Metal Hammer review:
This may be the album to end all albums, it may even kill you. All I can suggest is that if you need a new metallic fix, this is the band who'll take you over the edge. Buy "Nightfall" now, there'll never be another album quite like this again. It's destined to go down as an all-time legend in years to come. 7/7

From Derek Oliver's Kerrang! review:
What can I say, except that Candlemass are probably the most powerful Power Metal unit I've heard in some time. Buy this and Savatage's "Hall Of The Mountain King" album and you'll have a perfect definition of what real Heavy Metal is all about. KKKK