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Music Time Capsule Log #10 --- Candlemass, Messiah and a New Maturity

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Music Time Capsule Log #10 --- Candlemass, Messiah and a New Maturity

21 December 2018

Mark Antony Rossi

In a fun spooky sense today as I write this log, 10 Dec 18, is Messiah Marcolin’s 51st birthday. Messiah is principally known as the lead singer of Candlemass and a major reason for their international success in the 1980’s and perhaps for their resurgence in 2002 and their 2005 self-titled release.

Candlemass is a Swedish group and is considered a Doom Metal band and the genre is named after their first album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. I’ve never been fond of that album or the dopey genre name “doom” mainly because I never found their sound or lyrics to be doom-like. Perhaps gloomy but not doomy. But God-forbid we call it Gloom Metal.

I never felt an excited anticipation for an album release as I did for Candlemass’s three releases Nightfall (87), Ancient Dreams (88) and Tales of Creation (89). While in Denmark I got a sneak release of a track from the upcoming second album Nightfall and I fell in love with the band and its new singer Messiah Marcolin whom replaced the first singer from the first album.

Side Note: While in the USAF in West Germany I was working via mail with a group called Entourage who was working on an album deal with Black Dragon Records in France. I was to write a few of their songs after they previewed some of my writings. Black Dragon Records dropped Candlemass after their first album sold poorly. A big mistake because after they signed with a British label called Axis and hired Messiah the band was became huge with Nightfall. Black Dragon Records declined to sign Entourage and I lost my chance to write for a band.

Nightfall hit Germany and I was on the moon with excitement and glee. The Operatic power and grace of Messiah was an astounding presence in a metal outfit that had more to do with Black Sabbath overtones and even Rainbow/Dio influence but nothing I would consider Doom. Listen to Mercyful Fate for a 10 minutes and you will know what Doom truly is. It was said back then Messiah owed a debt to King Diamond for the falsetto but I didn’t agree then or now. They are distinctly original singers.

The following year Ancient Dreams hit the market and I literally stood in line at the record store for the privilege. LP’s were still the rage in 1988 and compact discs hadn’t caught up with current releases. I immediately transferred this album to a cassette for my Walkman because I had a flight assignment coming up and I could listen to it on the plane. I proceeded to listen to Ancient Dreams every day for nearly 2 months. I could sing “Cry from the Crypt’ word for word in the bar or in the shower.

The following year Tales of Creation was released and I loved it but not as much as Ancient Dreams. I was also noticing metal in general was on the retreat. Horrible glam-lite bands like Bulletboys and Warrant and the like were making the rounds. Motley Crue was about to hit Germany on tour with Dr Feelgood but I wasn’t feeling good about the close of the 80’s.

If it weren’t for Black Sabbath’s Headless Cross, Apocrypha’s The Eyes of Time and Ozzy’s No Rest for the Wicked I would have just shut out of the world and kept listening to Helloween that year. But the Berlin Wall fell and I was there to see it, experience the history and write down my thoughts. In a most strange way it felt like the world had changed so much that it was finally my time to move on to the next stage of maturity. And that would be a struggle since at this point in my life I just spent a quarter of my life in the military. It matures you in ways you don’t notice until you get back to Stateside.

Mark Antony Rossi


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