By Sean Palmerston
(Originally published in the March 2008 issue of METAL MANIACS – R.I.P. This may not be reprinted without the permission of the author.)
March 31st 2007 was a pretty important night for many doom fans, especially those lucky enough to have been in attendance at Stockholm’s Kolingsborg club. Seven hundred or so were there for the twentieth anniversary celebration of doom legends Candlemass, something that was originally meant to happen earlier on but was delayed due to the whole Messiah Marcolin departure fiasco. So, with singer Robert Lowe just recently announced as vocalist, the show was to be his debut as the new voice of Candlemass. But he wasn’t even the major draw here. No, that honor was bestowed upon Johan Langquist, the first voice of the band who, as a session singer, blew so many of us away on the band’s debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus but had never sung those songs live. His appearance is what attracted people from all over the world to flock to the Swedish capital, not to mention the fact that other guest vocalists such as Mikael Akerfeldt, Tony Martin and Krux/Therion’s Mats Leven were also rumored to appear.
The rumors were true, all of the above made it out for the show, as did Grand Magus’s JB as well as Tomas Vikstrom, who fronted the band on 1992’s under-appreciated Chapter VI. Vikstrom kicks things off here with four strong songs, including a solid rendition of ‘Darker Are The Veils Of Death,’ before JB and Leven make way for Robert Lowe’s first official appearance. Although seemingly nervous onstage, the Texan does not disappoint and kills ‘Samarithan’ in his three song set, which surprisingly is met with a smattering of audible boos from the audience. It is hard to say it these were disgruntled Messiah fans or just those anxious for the true highlight of the night, when Langquist finally takes the stage after more than two decades. Unsurprisingly he gets four songs with the band; to say seeing him is magical is a bit of an understatement. It would have been understandable if he didn’t wow everyone, but dude has got game and shows it in spades. Almost as cool is the finale of ‘Solitude,’ which features all three Candlemass vocalists past and present each taking a verse of the classic to close the night. At almost two hours, this is one monumental event and one that thankfully has been captured forever on DVD.
A word to the weary about the quality of the DVD itself. Apparently the DVD crew present had some problems with the audio portion of the show itself: their attempts to record from the soundboard were botched so the sound used is from one of the three cameras. A 5.1 surround sound mix has been made, but if you are a fan of big budget, lavish DVD productions you may be a bit disappointed. However, if you’re anything like me and love stuff a bit more raw then this shouldn’t be a problem. The sound is still full and it gives it a bit more of an in-you-face feel which fits perfectly for this monumental show. There’s also some pretty funny moments in the bonus backstage interview footage too: find out or yourself who has the worst smelling shits in the Candlemass camp. Nah, on the other hand, just skip the shit-talking and stick to the doom. That definitely doesn’t stink here.
Originally published in METAL MANIACS Magazine, March 2008 (Meshuggah cover story)