Review Summary: The curtain falls…
Having returned to form with Tales of Creation
, Candlemass hit the road once again. With four classics in their bags, the Swedes assumed that the time was right to record their first live album. This album seemed to be the next logical step to take, considering the strong catalogue of songs they had to back up the setlist and the stage presence and charisma they had developed as a live act. For making no mistakes, back in the day, Candlemass was a ferocious live band, a force to be reckoned with. The Swedes felt the obligation of capturing that magical brilliance they themselves could produce on stage and secure for the future generations a window to the past.
Shortly before Messiah’s departure, Candlemass materialized their idea and released their first live album, which was simply titled as Candlemass Live
. The first of many (5 in total) live albums, this document is also considered as their greatest, mainly due to the fact that it was recorded at a time when the Swedes were at the peak of their power. The excellent tracklist is what makes this album likewise irresistible. In a nearly flawless performance and for the biggest part of the concert, Candlemass make use of their more anthemic material to keep the adrenaline pumping, without of course neglecting to slow down a little bit and prepare the ground for their Doom hymns. Messiah, proves himself as a charismatic frontman and with his dominating presence drives his bandmates onwards. His enormous vocal power fuels the riffing machine of the duo Edling/Bjorkman whose mammoth riffing will send chills down your spine. Johansson displays his amazing, characteristic solos and Jan Lindh’s robust drumming is faultless.
In spite of the fact that Candlemass were an amazing sight to behold, I must say that as a live act, no matter how prevailing they looked on stage, they just couldn’t restore the power of their debut. Each and every song that was written after Epicus
is played brilliantly. But the songs from their masterwork do not enhance the experience of the concert. Having gathered enough experience from listening to their live albums and attending a live concert as well, I can say that I observed this problem many times. In all cases, it seemed that this line-up was unable to perform the songs in a faithful manner, mainly because they didn’t wrote Epicus
. The three new members who were recruited to record Nightfall
had different styles. For instance, Johansson is a lead guitarist in nature, which means that he rarely joins sides with Bjorkman in the rhythmic playing and prefers to accompany him by using melody lines or throwing short passages within the song structure. But that tactic unfortunately doesn’t work for tracks such as Solitude or Demons Gate. Additionally, Messiah’s wailing vibrato is what made Epic Doom sound so beautiful and uplifting but in Epicus
, the vocalist was a baritone and Messiah could not perform similarly.
Despite the few disappointing moments, Live
is one of the best releases in the Candlemass history and it is also by far their best live album. If you need to witness how great these guys sounded live, this album is highly recommended.