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Candlemass is a Swedish national holiday celebrated once a year on February 2nd. On this date it is traditional to pray to Messiah Marcolin to let you be bewitched and die in solitude.
Originally, the band consisted of drinking buddies Leif Edling, Mats Björkman & Matz Ekström. It was soon discovered that, conveniently, Björkman played guitar and Ekström drums, so Edling as a bassist and songwriter had found his feet (since all any aspiring musician needs is a drummer). It was soon discovered, however, that Björkman couldn't play solos and Ekström had said he was a drummer merely because he had a drumkit his aunt had given him for his seventh birthday that had been gathering dust in his attic ever since.
Perhaps seeking to cover this up, Edling wrote a bunch of stunning tracks that the others couldn't play and started them rehearsing. While they struggled to come to terms with this new knowledge, he went out on the binge again...
Guitar & vocals, originally
Edling's bar crawl payed off. He'd soon dredged up Klas Bergwall from somewhere, a man who was capable of widdling - and, in a room where a pop/soul band were playing, abducted a vocalist named Johan Längqvist. These he carried to the studio, force-fed his tracks to them and then put them in a room with the other two members of his band.
Björkman shoved sandpaper down Längqvist's throat by the end of the session, thus leading to the throaty, hoarse sound heard at the start of Demon's Gate.
Before the album, tentatively titled Epicus Kickarssius Metallicus, could be released, Edling spent many midnight hours playing drums. He never told Ekström (you heard it here first!), but to this day when hearing the album Ekström says, "I'm sure I was better than that".
The record label had major qualms about the title, and insisted it be renamed. Tentatively someone suggested that they sounded a bit "you know, kinda like that early Black Sabbath shit." After beating him up, Björkman remarked that they were doomed - and thus was born the title EPICUS DOOMICUS METALLICUS. Warning; trying to order this in your local record store WILL lead to baffled looks and enquiries of 'How do you spell this?'
Finally, Candlemass Live!
Klas Bergwall died soon after Epicus, and was replaced by Lars Johansson who had met Edling while at a church-burning convention. Längqvist escaped from his prison in Edling's basement, while Edling finally lost patience with Ekström's child-like sense of rhythm and replaced him with partner Jan Lindh.
In the middle of the night, Edling received a mysterious phone call. It was a strange man with a howling Gaylord voice and an acoustic guitar playing HIS tracks down the phone! The man called again every night, and each time said that he wanted to be in the band. Edling soon found himself looking over his shoulder - and every time he would see the same mad monk with an afro and a Meat Loaf-esque stature behind him.
This was Messiah Marcolin, and within a week he was in Candlemass. Finally, they could perform live and receive the adulation they deserved as DEFENDERS OF THE ONE TRUE DOOM FAITH!!!!!!!!!
Messiah Marcolin intended to make a dramatic entrance onstage. He would be carried on in a coffin borne by his bandmates and spring out - but sadly that didn't work as the other four put together were smaller than him and couldn't carry the coffin when it was occupied. It also probably didn't help that Leif Edling thought it was a piano.
The band released albums and toured, and albums and toured etc. After a while they began shedding members like dandruff as Edling's ego grew and started nudging the others out from under the oak of doom greatness. Messiah went and everyone else besides... Until...
After nu-metal died on its arse, Edling thought maybe the time was right for the great comeback (which, incidentally, is humbug) and reunited the band that first played live. However it didn't last long as Messiah proved not to be the great saviour and left with an album half-completed.
Who to replace him? Well, Solitude Aeturnus were big fans of Candlemass... And their vocalist, Robert Lowe, was a similar size to Messiah... So voila! New look Candlemass. (Ok, so the original members were Swedes and Lowe was a Texas Longhorn, but still...)
Lowe recorded Messiah's tracks for Swing of the Grey Islands and then set about having his own created for him by Edling. These bore much resemblance, in some places, to iconic Sabbath tracks (detractors of doom may say this is because doom is so primitive there are only so many riffs you can play but I say no, Edling was paying a tribute to the gods)
Meanwhile, the band embarked on the coolest photoshoot in history when they were about twenty years too old to benefit from it.