How do you follow up a Grammy-nominated scorcher of a doom record that tips a hat to your iconic past while also blazing ahead with ghoul-conjuring riffage to the future? You do more of the same, only this time you throw in a secret weapon.
Candlemass are fixing to follow-up their critically acclaimed 2019 album The Door to Doom with Sweet Evil Sun, their second full-length outing in recent years with original vocalist Johan Längqvist, and, as founding guitarist Mats "Mappe" Björkman explained, the first ever Candlemass effort to have Längqvist’s full creative involvement.
“The thing with this album is we had a long time to work together with Johan, and Leif and Johan could do it together,” Björkman shared in our recent sitdown. “Johan has always been a hired gun. He's done two albums with Candlemass. He's done Epicus, of course, the most classical Candlemass album ever, but that was made in two weeks. He came in at the last minute because we needed the singer. He didn't do the songs, we just said ‘sing this’.
“It was the same with The Door to Doom. When he came in the album was recorded with Mats [Levén] and everything was finished and we re-recorded everything with Johan at the last minute. I think he got two or three weeks to re-record the whole album without hearing these songs. So we came to the Sweet Evil Sun album, and this was the first time that he got the chance to actually work with us and do things and demo things with us.
“And I think you can hear it on the album that this is more of a unit and for Johan as well. I mean, finally he can work with his own things instead of just doing something that somebody else has done. He was here from the beginning and he was having his touch on everything that he can put in. And of course Leif is the songwriter, but they were together. Johan had his ideas and stuff that came up that Leif took like shit, this is really good, you know?”
And just how does the longtime guitarist feel die hard Candlemass fans will feel of Sweet Evil Sun, we ask? "I can feel that the people that like Candlemass think this is a really good Candlemass album in 2022. It's an updated album, but it's still back to its roots. That's what it is."