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CANDLEMASS Guitarist MAPPE BJÖRKMAN Talks ANVIL, MESSIAH MARCOLIN & Three Decades of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus & Nightfall

Plus a new single!

Photo by Linda Akerberg

Doom legends Candlemass are primed and ready to release their latest tome of moody-riff-filled metal Sweet Evil Sun, on November 18 via Napalm Records.

The legendary ensemble and recent Grammy nominees are largely considered one of the founding figures in doom metal, and have shown no signs of fatigue nearly four decades into their careers.

Weeks away from the anticipated release, guitarist and longtime Candlemass member Mats "Mappe" Björkman made waves with a mini-reunion with former Candlemass frontman Messiah Marcolin during an Anvil gig in his native Stockholm.

"Yeah, it was fantastic," Björkman shared in a one-on-one with Metal Injection. "I mean, me and Messiah, we are not cats and dogs, you know? We are friends, we're good friends. We've been that for a couple of years and we've got tons of respect for each other. He's not the guy thinking Candlemass is a bad band or whatever. He has respect for what I'm doing and I have respect for what he's doing, whatever he does."

The unexpected on-stage reunion nearly two decades in the making came together rather unprompted with Anvil frontman and certified metal legend Steve "Lips" Kudlow contacted Björkman on show-day, with the Candlemass guitarist himself enlisting the services of his-longtime friend Marcolin

"They are fantastic. The guys are great," Björkman shared of the Canadian metal icons. "Lips and Robb, what can you say? They play so tight because they've played tons and thousands of shows. I love the guys and they're fantastic to hang with. Lips texted me the morning when they came to Stockholm and I was actually home and he asked me if I could go and do a guest performance on 'Metal On Metal'."

"I was out all that day, so I didn't have the chance to rehearse the song. I'd heard the song a thousand times, but I never played it. I didn't know what tuning it was set in, so I came there before the show and did it. But there's some small mistakes, but it turned out quite good. I think they were happy about it, so we had a great time.

"We don't do it for our sake," Björkman adds. "We do it for Anvil because we love Anvil. We both grew up with Anvil, me and Messiah. That's a band that we used to listen to when we were young. So it was respect for them and it was something that we thought was very good, a sort of fun thing to do. So we had a great time and it was fantastic to share the stage with him and just hug each other and have a beer together, showing respect for each other. I think that's what came out of it. That was good."

And with camaraderie and nostalgia on the brain ahead of the release of Sweet Evil Sun, Björkman reminisced on 35-years and counting of seminal Candlemass albums Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Nightfall. 

"For me it's an honor to see [the enduring legacy]. I can't believe it's actually that that album [Nightfall, which turned 35 in 2022] has been around for so many years, and the same with Epicus. The thing is, when I see the audience and when I see people play the Nightfall album wherever you are in the world or how you do it, and when I see the audience in the front row, they weren't even born when we did these albums. That, in your heart, that's the best honor you can have as a band, for me personally.

"You see the audience, the girls and guys and this new generation of people are singing along to all those songs. And then when I see that then I really feel, shit, those albums, we made something here. I don't see that when I'm sitting home and see the Epicus album here in my record collection like okay, that's one I did. But when I go out to play live and I see the reviews, the review that it was like the best doom metal album ever made after Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Like What the fuck?"

Check out Candlemass' latest single "When Death Sighs" below and pre-order Sweet Evil Sun here.

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Shout out to photographer Rae Chatten.