Candlemass, Evergrey and more at Sporting Hall (2002)

Sporting Hall (Athens, Greece)

Candlemass, Evergrey, Sorrowful Winds, Decemberance
Candlemass: the best f..cking band in doom metal history (before you start yelling BLACK SABBATH!!!, […]
By Kostas Liapakis
April 19, 2002

Candlemass: the best f..cking band in doom metal history (before you start yelling BLACK SABBATH!!!, think that the term doom metal is rather restrictive for the mega-band from Birmingham, isn't it?), a band that gave a breath of fresh air to the genre in question back in the mid-late 80's by releasing masterpieces like Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Nightfall and Ancient Dreams. Their first gig in Athens, some 12-and-a-half years ago, is still one of the best I have attended in my metal life! Keeping that in mind, I was more than eager to see them again, especially now that Messiah is back.

Three bands were to play before Candlemass, the Greeks Decemberance and Sorrowful Winds, and the Swedish progsters Evergrey. Unfortunately I am a working man (as Rush once sang…) and the event was held on Friday, so I managed to get at the venue as soon as Decemberance were finishing their set. Therefore, I can't say whether they were good or not. Sorry guys, next time! What I am certain about is that the next indigenous band, Sorrowful Winds, were satisfactory enough to keep my interest undiminished during their performance. A band that has been influenced by Candlemass (and they did not hesitate to admit that on-stage), but their music is rather closer to power than doom metal, and it's quite technical as well. They did not avoid some (minor) mistakes, but overall they passed the exams with ease!

Before I refer to Evergrey's performance, I would like to say a couple of words about the band: in my opinion this is one of the best European power / progressive metal acts, and I have thoroughly enjoyed their albums, including their latest. So why did I not enjoy that much seeing them live? Still I can't figure it out. Maybe it was due to the sound (as the keyboards were way ahead of the rest instruments), or due to the tracklisting (it's a fact that their more straightforward songs went down a lot better than their complicated ones), or because I was just too anxious to see Candlemass (….), but I must confess that I was a little bit bored during their appearance. They were flawless in terms of playing, so I guess it just isn't the kind of music that I consider appropriate for a live.

But let's not forget the reason we were there (along with approximately 1,500 fans) that evening. It was time for the headliners. While the notes of Marche Funebre were heard from the speakers, Candlemass appeared on the candle-lit stage. From the opening track Well of Souls and for the next one and a half hour, the guys RULED! The band was simply amazing; all the musicians performed extremely well and as for Messiah Marcolin, well, he is a hell of a frontman…The man is just unbelievable, not only does he have a superb voice, he can handle the crowd with a single gesture, and he has a great sense of humor as well (…and lots of tzatziki to eat!..). The selection of the songs couldn't be better, as they played everything out of their first two albums (with the exception of the instrumental tracks of Nightfall) so I guess no-one left disappointed. The sound was terrific as well, heavy, massive and clear, and my only problem was that being among the first rows left me with a buzz in my ears for many hours after the concert!

For the few of you who haven't got the message yet: this was one of the few heavy metal gigs that cause adrenaline flow and make you feel blessed for listening to this music. For all the rest: after this metal feast, all we can do is pray to God that Candlemass won't quit after these reunion shows. We are expecting a new studio album soon. OK Leif?

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