19 April 2002/Sporting Sports Hall/Athens

This must have been a dream. Candlemass - the creators of Doom Metal - have been reformed in 2002 with the original line-up in order to participate in a few Festivals over the summer (consider yourself lucky if you manage to see them live) and only one headline show - the one in Greece. Don't be surprised by that, the band has experienced here fervent support all over the years, and it had only played here live once - one of the best gigs ever taken place in Athens. The three support groups gave to the whole event the sense of a small festival. However because of my bad luck and a flat tire I managed to miss the two Greek groups, plus Evergrey's beginning. From what I've heard, the bands played well - Sorrowful Winds even better as they are an experienced band - but they had huge problems with the bad sound. 
When I entered the sport's hall it was half empty and Evergrey were already on stage. I thought it was a great opportunity to see them live, as I very much like their three albums and I consider them a great hope for the future. However the sound was that bad, that I doubt that someone who didn't know their songs would manage to understand the difference between them. The band seemed to be "tight" without any great stage show and appearance. It was as if they were trying to get it through. I was disappointed. However people's reactions were encouraging, as they applauded for them and even asked them for an encore. Hope that they will improve their stage show and feel more loose on the stage, because their music is really amazing. 
But then the time had come for the Lords of Doom. The hall was full now, and you could only see a black mass anticipating! Around 10:00 fourteen long candles were lighten up, loads of smoke and the band jumped on the stage with "The Well of Souls". Panic! Time seemed to have stood still for more than a decade. Messiah - this amazing frontman - appeared with his classic frock, proving that he still maintains his amazing, lyrical voice!!!! In the middle of the song the crowd had become one with the band shouting the "oo-ooo" on the bridge and the band was laughing to each other out of pleasure, as they could hardly expect such a welcome! Their sound was - fortunately - better than the support bands', but still not the best possible. 
However this didn't discourage neither the band, nor the fans whose reactions resembled to people's suffering from epilepsy throughout the show! One after the other all the classics were there: Mirror Mirror, Under the Oak, At the Gallow's End, Dark Reflections and so on. The hall was shaking and I felt pity for the neighbours (as the sports hall lies among residences in the centre of the city). I have to say that the band played almost all songs from their first two releases "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" and "Nightfall". Plus at the end they played the songs "Mourner's Lament" and "Black Stone Wielder" for the first time ever live, as a huge thanks to the fans. Was this the end? Of course not. People were asking for an encore and the band came out again and delivered two creepy executions of "Solitude" and "A Sorcerer's Pledge" leaving the crowd ecstatic. And yet this wasn't the end! They returned for a second encore with "Crystal Ball"! Oh what else can I say? A dream came true, and I am sure this has been one of the best concerts I've ever experienced. I strongly recommend you not to miss the chance to see them live in the festivals during the summer! And please pray with me for them to take the decision to stay together and produce a new record! We need bands like Candlemass as oxygen. May darkness be always with them! Hail!

by Alex Savatianos