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Candlemass 2018
Candlemass in 2018
A driving force in doom.
Background information
Origin Stockholm, Sweden
Genres Epic doom metal
Years active 1984 - 1994,
1997 - 2002,
2004 - Present
Labels Napalm Records, Metal Blade Records, Restless Records, Nuclear Blast Records
Associated acts Nemesis, Solitude Aeturnus, Krux, Spiritual Beggars, The Doomsday Kingdom, Avatarium, Abstrakt Algebra, Therion, Momento Mori, Mercyful Fate
Website Candlemass Official
Current members Leif Edling
Mats Björkman
Jan Lindh
Lars Johansson
Johan Längqvist
Past members Klas Bergwall
Mats Ekström
Messiah Marcolin
Thomas Vikström
Bjorn Flödkvist
Jejo Perkovic
Michael Amott
Carl Westholm
Mats Ståhl
Robert Lowe
Mats Levén

Candlemass are an influential Swedish doom metal band established in 1984 by bassist, songwriter and bandleader Leif Edling alongside drummer Matz Ekström. After releasing five full-length albums and touring extensively throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Candlemass disbanded in 1994, but reunited three years later. After breaking up again in 2002, Candlemass reformed in 2004 and have continued to record and perform since then. Candlemass are considered to be pioneers of the "Epic Doom Metal" variation on doom metal.

Since their formation the band has released twelve studio albums, won multiple Grammis awards and would be nominated for the 2020 "Best Metal Performance" Grammy.


Formation and The Messiah Years (1986 - 1991)[]


The classic Candlemass lineup holding up a gigantic invisible cat.

After the breakup of his first band Nemesis, bassist Leif Edling started his own band under the name Candlemass with vocalist Johan Längqvist, drummer Matz Ekström and guitarists Mats "Mappe" Bjorkman and Klas Bergwall. Their first release, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986), immediately secured their standing, positioning the band within metal circles, setting a milestone in the doom metal scene. Following the band's debut album Längqvist was replaced by Messiah Marcolin, due to the former's disinterest in touring. By the time the band entered the studio to record their second effort Nightfall in 1987, Bergwall and Ekström had left the band. Jan Lindh joined the band on drums, and Lars Johansson joined the band on guitars following the completion of the album.

Candlemass's next two albums were Ancient Dreams (1988) and Tales of Creation (1989). In 1990, the band released a live album simply titled Live. Shortly afterward, a dispute between the band members resulted in Messiah Marcolin's departure.

Chapter VI and first break-up (1992 - 1994)[]

After Marcolin left, Candlemass recruited vocalist Thomas Vikström and recorded Chapter VI (1992). The band then toured in support of that album. By 1994, Candlemass had called it quits, partly because Chapter VI was unsuccessful and partially because Edling had formed another project under the name of Abstrakt Algebra.

First reformation, Björn Flodkvist era and reunion with Messiah (1997 - 2002)[]

With Abstrakt Algebra not doing well, Leif suddenly recruited a new line-up under the name of Candlemass. Edling was the only original member of the band at this time in the lineup, recruiting Björn Flodkvist as the vocalist. The band recorded the album Dactylis Glomerata in 1998, which was a combination of songs for a new Abstrakt Algebra CD and some new material (A re-release would feature unreleased songs from the intended second album by Abstrakt Algebra). A year later the album From the 13th Sun was released before the band would disband again for a time.

In 2002, the classic Candlemass line-up (Edling, Lindh, Johannson, Bjorkman, Marcolin) reunited with a string of well-received live performances, with one of these shows being released as Doomed For Live. Other albums released by the reformed band were remastered versions of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Nightfall, Ancient Dreams, and Tales of Creation with liner notes and bonus tracks. A DVD called Documents of Doom was released as well. The band was working on a new album and recorded some new songs while searching for a record label when differences arose again, resulting in Candlemass disbanding a second time. In the meantime, Leif Edling started a new project, Krux, with former Abstrakt Algebra singer Mats Levén and two members of Entombed.

Second reformation with Messiah Marcolin and 20th Anniversary (2003 - 2006)[]

Sometime after the 2002 reunion set with Marcolin, he would join alongside the classic lineup again with a string of festival dates and European shows with some new songs being introduced at shows. Reportedly, the band would disband in May 2004[1] but by January 2005 the band would announce a record deal with Nuclear Blast[2] Eventually in 2005 the band would release their first (And only) album with the reunited lineup, simply calling the album Candlemass (Sometimes referred to as "The White Album" by band members. This album would go on to win the band a Grammis award the same year.

Plans would follow for a follow-up album slated for 2007 with the same lineup but in 2006 it was announced Marcolin was out of the band for good due to personal differences between Marcolin and Edling.[3]

The band's 20th anniversary set would be delayed until 31 March 2007. Notably, this special set would feature multiple Candlemass singers (Only Marcolin and Björn Flodkvist wasn't able to participate) along with guest singers. It ended up notably being an introduction to new singer Robert Lowe and Johan Längqvist's first ever live performance with the band.[4] This would be later released on DVD as 20 Year Anniversary Party.

Robert Lowe era (2006 - 2012)[]

In 2006 Robert Lowe of Solitude Aeturnus would replace Messiah Marcolin as the lead singer of Candlemass. In 2007, King of the Grey Islands would be released to critical acclaim as tours of the United States and Europe would follow.

In 2009, the band's tenth album Death Magic Doom would be released, eventually earning the band another Grammis award. The album was intended to be named "Hammer of Doom" but was changed due to a festival of the same name.[5]

The next Candlemass album was intended to be released in 2011 but was ultimately delayed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, featuring a live performance of the album with Johan Längqvist at Roadburn Festival. This performance would see an exclusive vinyl release in 2013.

In 2012, Candlemass would release what was billed as their final studio album in Psalms For The Dead with Robert Lowe on vocals. On 2 June 2012 Robert Lowe would be fired from the band due to what the band cited as "poor quality from live performances" as Psalms For The Dead was released on 6 June 2012.[6][7]

Robert Lowe responded to his dismissal from the band with the following:

"Actually, there was not a situation [that caused the breakup]. I mean, the guys decided to drop the best vocalist they ever had. It's not my problem. But you, there wasn't a situation. Everything is good, everything is kosher."
— Robert Lowe, Blabbermouth [8]

Mats Levén and Death Thy Lover (2012 - 2017)[]

In June of 2012 Mats Levén would be announced as the new singer of Candlemass, his first live performance with the band on 5 June 2012 in Stockholm.[9] Levén had earlier worked with Leif Edling in Abstrakt Algebra and Krux and sang on demos from the Candlemass and King of the Grey Islands sessions. In addition, keyboardist Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth, Spiritual Beggars) would also join the band for live performances.

In January 2013, Candlemass was voted the greatest Swedish hard rock/metal band of all time by the writers of Sweden Rock Magazine, Scandinavia's biggest hard rock magazine as well as Sweden's biggest music magazine by circulation. They were featured in a list of the 100 greatest Swedish hard rock/metal bands of all time in a special jubilee edition, to celebrate the magazine's 100th issue. In connection with this, it was also revealed that Candlemass, along with death metal band Entombed (#2 on the list), were to perform jointly at a special jubilee concert in Stockholm arranged by the magazine. A split 7" featuring both bands covering each others songs (Entombed doing "Black Dwarf" and Candlemass doing "To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth"), with Mats first appearance on vocals as an official member.[10]

Touring of the band itself would become more sporadic, notably with bandleader Leif Edling taking time off from live performances for chronic fatigue syndrome (With Per Wiberg and Jörgen Sandström taking his place on bass, depending on the shows.) though the band would remain active on the festival circuit and embark on occasional tours.

Despite earlier claims that Psalms for the Dead would be their final album, bassist Leif Edling has stated that he is open to recording new music with Candlemass again.[11] To coincide with the 30th anniversary of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Candlemass released an EP called Death Thy Lover in June 2016 with Leven on vocals. The band would also perform a tour of South America, an appearance at Psycho Festival and other festival dates, almost all of which without Edling on bass for the live performances. The band would follow with a short North American tour culminating at Maryland Deathfest, performing all of Nightfall. Lars Johansson has hinted at the possibility and interest of doing a new album but the decision lies solely on Edling and his health.[12]

In regards to Leif Edling's new project The Doomsday Kingdom, Edling opened up about his condition that has affected him in the last couple years in an interview with Blabbermouth:

"THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM was created two years ago. I was in pretty bad shape. I couldn't go out, I couldn't work, I wasn't allowed to read, I couldn't watch telly and I wasn't allowed to work in front of the computer, so all I had was the music. And I created THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM, metal from the catacombs."
— Leif Edling, Blabbermouth [13]

The Door To Doom (2017 - Present)[]

Candlemass would mostly appear at festivals in 2017 but Leif Edling did perform with the band on bass for their performance of Nightfall at Wacken, his first live appearance with the band since 2013. The band has hinted work on another studio album, despite claims of Psalms For The Dead being the final record. The band would compose music for House of Doom, a Candlemass-themed slot machine in Sweden. A four-track EP of songs based on this slot machine would be released in May via Napalm Records to a mixed reception. Despite stating the they would no longer compose albums, Candlemass confirmed a twelfth studio album recorded (At the time of announcement their first with Mats Leven) and set for a fall release via Napalm Records.

On 3 September 2018 it would be announced that Candlemass would be returning to their roots and Längquist would rejoin as lead vocalist, his first performance back with the band at Southern Discomfort Kristiansand circa 8 September 2018. On 5 October 2018, audio snippets of Längquist singing new material was revealed on Candlemass' official YouTube page, confirming that he would be singing on the forthcoming 12th album, his first full-length with the band in nearly 33 years. Candlemass' 12th album is set for a Spring 2019 release.[14] It would also be announced that October that Candlemass would be touring with Ghost that February.[15] Candlemass' twelfth studio album The Door To Doom would be set for a 22 February release via Napalm, also featuring a guest appearance by Tony Iommi on "Astorolus - The Great Octopus". The Door To Doom would receive significant critical praise.

Following the tour with Ghost, Candlemass would tour their most extensive in years through 2019, performing in most of Europe along with a couple dates in Japan. On 20 November 2019 it would be announced that Candlemass would be nominated for "Best Metal Performance" at the 2020 Grammy Awards for "Astorolus - The Great Octopus".[16] The band would follow with a series of unreleased demos from The Door To Doom sessions entitled The Pendulum circa March 2020. The band would follow up with a new live album in Green Valley, recorded as part of a livestream performance circa July 2020 during the pandemic.

Following several festival appearances, Candlemass would announce a new single in Scandanavian Gods in August 2022, with a new album slated for a November 2022 release.[17] The next day, Sweet Evil Sun would be announced for an 18 November release.[18] Bjorkman and Messiah Marcolin would perform with Anvil in October 2022 as a guest on "Metal on Metal", possibly opening the doors for Messiah returning to the band in some capacity.[19]


Studio Albums[]

EPs / Splits / Singles[]

Live Albums[]

Compilations and Box Sets[]


Current Lineup[]

Past Members[]

  • Mats Ekström - Drums (1984 - 1986)
  • Christian Weberyd - Guitars (1984 - 1985)
  • Johnny Reinholm - Guitars, Drums (1984 - 1985)
  • Messiah Marcolin - Vocals (1986 - 1991, 2002 - 2006)
  • Mike Wead - Live Guitar (1987)
  • Thomas Vikström - Vocals (1991 - 1994)
  • Jejo Perkovic - Drums (1997 - 1999)
  • Michael Amott - Guitars (1997 - 1998)
  • Patrik Instedt - Guitars (1997 - 1998)
  • Björn Flodkvist - Vocals (1997 - 1999)
  • Mats Ståhl - Guitars (1998 - 1999)
  • Carl Westholm - Live Keyboards (1998); Session Keyboards (1998 - Present)
  • Tony Martin - Vocals (2004, 2007)
  • Mikael Åkerfeldt - Vocals (Live) (2007)
  • Janne Christoffersson - Vocals (Live) (2007)
  • Robert Lowe - Vocals (2006 - 2012)
  • Mats Leven - Vocals (2007, 2012 - 2018)
  • Marcus Jidell - Guitars (Live) (2012)
  • Per Wiberg - Keyboards, Bass (Live) (2012 - 2018)
  • Olle Dahlstedt - Drums (Live) (2013, 2014)
  • Jörgen Sandström - Bass (Live) (2015 - 2018)

List of Known Tours[]

  • Nightfall European Tour (With King Diamond) (1987)
  • Ancient Dreams European Tour (1988)
  • Late December 1988 Shows (With Motörhead, Venom, Destruction, Sacred Reich, Coroner) (1988)
  • 1989 North American Tour (1989)
  • Tales of Creation Tour (With Re-Animator, Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel, Acid Reign) (1989)
  • Tales of Creation 1990 Tour (With King Diamond, Savatage) (1990)
  • 1991 North American Tour (With Atheist) (1991)
  • 1991 European Tour (1991)
  • 2002 Reunion Tour (2002)[20][21][22]
  • 2003 Reunion Shows (2003)[23]
  • 2005 Spring/Summer Shows (2005)[24]
  • 2005 European Tour (With Cathedral, Grand Magus; Canceled) (2005)[25]
  • Hellhoundz of Doom and Thrash (With Destruction, Deathchain, After All, Perzonal War) (2005)[26]
  • 2006 South American Tour (2006)[27]
  • King of The Grey Islands European Tour (2007)[28]
  • King of The Grey Islands North American Tour (With Daylight Dies) (2008)[29]
  • 2009 Sweden Mini-Tour (With Trouble) (2009)[30]
  • 2013 Mini-Tours and Festival Appearances (2013)[31]
  • 2016 South American Tour (2016)[32]
  • 2017 North American Tour (2017)[33]
  • 2019 European Tour (With Ghost) (2019)[34]
  • The Door To Doom Japan Tour (2019)[35]
  • 2022 North American Tour (With Frayle) (2022)

External Links[]


  1. Stonerrock.com via Wayback MachineAccessed 10 November 2016
  2. Stonerrock.com via Wayback MachineAccessed 10 November 2016
  3. Apeshit.orgMessiah Marcolin Out of Candlemass For Good, accessed March 16, 2016.
  4. Setlist.fmAccessed March 16, 2016.
  5. Candlemass Official via Wayback Machine
  6. Metal UndergroundAccessed March 17, 2016.
  7. Blabbermouth
  8. Blabbermouth ROBERT LOWE On Split With CANDLEMASS: "They Decided To Drop The Best Vocalist They Ever Had", accessed 17th March, 2016
  9. Blabbermouth
  10. SwedenRock.comAccessed March 13, 206.
  11. Dead RhetoricAccessed March 13, 2016.
  12. BlabbermouthAccessed 22 June 2017
  13. Blabbermouth CANDLEMASS Mainman LEIF EDLING's THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM: Debut Album Due In March, accessed 25th December, 2016
  14. Blabbermouth
  15. Candlemass Official
  16. Candlemass Facebook
  17. Candlemass Facebook
  18. Candlemass Bandcamp
  19. Blabbermouth
  20. Setlist.fm
  21. Blabbermouth
  22. Blabbermouth
  23. Blabbermouth
  24. Blabbermouth
  25. Blabbermouth
  26. Blabbermouth
  27. Setlist.fm
  28. Blabbermouth
  29. Blabbermouth
  30. Blabbermouth
  31. Last.fm
  32. Setlist.fm
  33. Setlist.fm
  34. Setlist.fm
  35. Setlist.fm
V·T·E Candlemass
Current Members Leif EdlingMats BjörkmanLars JohanssonJan LindhJohan Längquist
Selected Past Members Mats EkströmMessiah MarcolinThomas VikströmMichael AmottBjörn FlodkvistRobert LoweMats LevénPer Wiberg
Studio Albums Epicus Doomicus MetallicusNightfallAncient DreamsTales of CreationChapter VIDactylis GlomerataFrom The 13th SunCandlemassKing of The Grey IslandsDeath Magic DoomPsalms For The DeadThe Door To DoomSweet Evil Sun
Live Albums Candlemass - LiveDocuments of DoomDoomed For LiveThe Curse of Candlemass: Live in Stockholm 200320 Year Anniversary PartyAshes To AshesLive at the Marquee - Nov 26 1988Epicus Doomicus Metallicus - Live at Roadburn 2011Green Valley
Selected Other Releases Sjunger Sigge FürstWizNimisLucifer RisingDon't Fear The ReaperDoomologyCandlemass Vs. EntombedBehind The Wall of DoomDeath Thy LoverHouse of DoomThe Pendulum
Associated Bands, Artists, Etc. NemesisSolitude AeturnusKruxSpiritual BeggarsThe Doomsday KingdomAvatarium • Abstrakt Algebra • Therion • Momento Mori • Mercyful Fate • King Diamond • Carcass • Arch Enemy • The Black Heart of CandlemassSongs of Torment, Songs of Joy