There isn’t much that I can say about Candlemass that hasn't been said already. They are pioneers, revolutionaries and regarded and revered the world around. Their first record Epicus Doomicus Metallicus was a bold work of genre defining art but their second album, the subject of this review, 1987’s Nightfall solidified the bands sound and was the first to feature their most well known vocalist, the goofy and charismatic Messiah Marcolin. Nightfall is an aptly titled mournful composition of atmosphere a heavy doomy riffs, the cover art does splendidly what it should in preparing the listener for the melancholy to follow upon opening the gatefold and spinning the disc.
Responsible for this cover and most defiantly unawares that he would lend his talented hand to the one of the greatest heavy metal records of all time, was mid-19th century American painter Thomas Cole. Cole himself was somewhat of a revolutionary in his own field, responsible for founding the Hudson River School, a collective of artists who, heavily inspired by romanticism, created some of the most enduring pieces of landscape art known to man. The painting you can see above is the last piece of Cole’s The Voyage of Life series which served as an allegory of the four stages of human life titled Old Age. The painting depicts the subject of his series old and grey, with the waters of life calm around him about to break free of corporeal existence and pass into the realm of immortal life. A fitting cover indeed, given Candlemass’ seemingly obsessive curiosity with death and the world beyond.
Nightfall is available through Axis/EMI records.