Everyone that’s into doom metal understands that Candlemass is about as important and influential as a doom metal band (outside of Black Sabbath themselves) has ever been. The genre’s name itself arguably comes from their first album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and quite a bit of the reason that people love that album so much is the incredible session vocal performance from Johan Längquist. Dramatic, powerful, and dynamic, Längquist’s singing on that album has transcended the genre of doom metal itself and inspired generations of bands and their vocal performances. “Solitude” alone has been covered dozens of times by doom legends like Solstice and by smaller bands like Procession or Bewitched alike; even when the covers don’t necessarily work, the love is certainly going where it’s due, and it was no small deal when Candlemass announced that Längquist had returned to be their permanent singer a few years ago.

Though Candlemass has always had great singers, many of them legends in their own right, it’s Längquist that first and most strongly captured my own imagination and it’s Längquist’s material that I listen to the most often; though I have not yet had a chance to see him fronting the band (unfortunately they had to drop off Keep It True in 2019, which would have been my chance!) I’ve obsessively tracked recordings of his performances with them, and he’s as incredible of a singer as ever even across all of these years. It’s my pleasure today to share a short interview with Johan touching on the old Candlemass material as well as his current stint with the band and their most recent album Sweet Evil Sun; turn up “Black Stone Wielder” loud and give it a read!




Decades ago when you sang on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus you turned down Candlemass’ offer to join the band. Do you regret that now that you’re a full member now?

No, I had my own band that I loved at that time and to join Candlemass wouldn't have been fair to them or me. To be a part of a band for me means 100%. We talked about it but they wanted me to do the album anyway and so I did and I’m very proud of being a part of ”Epicus”.

Looking back at your performance on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, is there anything you would have approached differently if you’d had the level of experience you have now?

It’s hard to say but I don’t think so. I think they are charming the way they are.

How much latitude did you have on Sweet Evil Sun to write your own vocal parts?

Leif is the main writer in C-mass and used to have an idea when it comes to melodies but he’s also always open minded if I come up with something interesting. I can say that we have a lot of musical fun during our recording sessions.

What would be an example of something that you came up with yourself from the album? How does your writing approach differ from Leif’s?

Could be a note here and there but I don’t remember exactly what I came up with during the recordings but that’s not important. Leifs and my goal is to make the songs as good as possible.
The difference is maybe that I am more traditional when it comes to arrangements of songs.

Prior to you joining the band, a variety of vocalists with different ranges to your own sang for Candlemass, and you’ve been performing those songs live. Have you had any issues singing any of their parts, or matching your own voice as it was in the 1980s? How have you approached learning to perform material that was never intended for your voice?

To me a great song is all that matters and I’m always ready to try, no matter who’s done it before. Candlemass has a very big library of great songs and singers and I can never do the songs the way they did them but I can do my best and just be myself.

Are there any songs that have needed more rearranging than others? What’s your favorite to perform that you didn’t originally sing on?

No. My favorite if I have to pick one is for the moment “Mirror Mirror.”

You had joined Candlemass on stage to do special sets of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus before doing those songs as a member of the band. Did it feel any different on stage to do them as a band member instead of as a guest?

No, me and the other guys have always been good friends. The big difference is that now I can do it more often and I really like it.

How have you protected your voice over the years? What advice would you give to a young metal singer starting their journey now?

Listen to your favorite songs/singers and learn all you can. Then try to find yourself/ your own voice. Don’t be afraid to push hard and explore your limits up and down. If you’re angry/sad write a song/lyrics about it and let it out. I’ve never had any lessons but I’ve learned that too much talking/drinking is not good. An apple can be helpful for a dry mouth.


Sweet Evil Sun released November 18th, 2022 via Napalm Records.

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