Last year the German Black Metal band THULCANDRA released their debut album, “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” (see the review here). It was very much in vein of what the Swedish band DISSECTION played or used to play and for that the Germans were hailed, but also criticised. Nevertheless, DISSECTION is no more since some time, and as THULCANDRA does a pretty good job at keeping that style alive, why complain? The band did of course play several gigs to not only get the name out, but make people experience the music in a different setting. While working on new material, vocalist/guitarist Steffen Kummerer also found time to release another OBSCURA album (“Omnivium”, released in March this year) and play gigs with his other band.
On “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” the drums were played by Seraph from DARK FORTRESS. Who played drums on the follow-up, “Under A Frozen Sun” (out since the 30th September), is unknown to me. Not even the press text makes a mention of this. In any case, whoever did it, sure as hell knows what he does. Hats off for that! Now, for this new release the band appealed to the services of V. Santura (Woodshed Studios) for the production and for the cover art, like before, Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin was the man in charge. Next to seven own songs, THULCANDRA again added a cover. This time it’s “Life Demise” from UNANIMATED.
“Under A Frozen Sun” takes off with the melodic intro (and ends in the same way) of “In Blood And Fire” before hell breaks loose. Icy riffing and fast drumming are key ingredients as the music pounds along. Steffen’s shrieky vocals are equally important and present throughout the tracklist. The pace decreases as the chorus is played, adding melody and melancholy to the whole. Although this song is quite long, it doesn’t feel like that. The band neatly put slower and faster parts together for a more rhythmic moment or even a calm break. “Black Flags Of Hate” starts instantly, no room or time for an intro here. Furious guitarwork and blasting drums work perfectly together, while melodic leads try to at least break that mass a little. The pounding verses contrast nicely with the melodic chorus, which is at the same time hymnic as melancholic. It sure hasn’t the purpose to cheer you up.
“Ritual Of Sight” is the only track I found less good/attractive. It begins with some tension building before the song really takes off with double kickdrums and typical (melodic) Black Metal. That melodic touch cane also be heard in the blasting verses, which again are countered by a midtempo chorus. The middle of the track holds the solo part. All well executed, but it fails to have a grip on me. The acoustic guitar is used in the beginning of “Under A Frozen Sun” to create a calm and serene setting. Slow/midtempo Black Metal is added while keeping the melodic line intact. I found this part comparable to DARK FUNERAL’s “My Funeral”. Again Steffen’s harsh, shrieky vocals stand out. The music and overall atmosphere is doomy and gloomy. The acoustic guitar returns halfway to then have the electric ones take over again. A very good song, if I may say so.
“Aeons Of Darkness” is next with its blasting Black Metal. It could have been a more Doomy song as well, but since THULCANDRA keeps the legacy of DISSECTION intact… As you can imagine, you get pounding music that’s aggressive and energetic, though with the added touch of melody, of course. Splendid work, no doubt. And so is “Echoing Voices (A Cold Breeze Of Death)”. First an intro, then blasting hell. Like before, the midtempo chorus contrasts with the verses. There’s also room for a solo to make the song complete. The band also blasts its way through “Gates Of Eden”, though offers more change in tempo and rhythm, but also melodies and atmosphere, which is a normal decision, considering the song’s length (over 9 minutes). And I’ve said it before, the drumming is outstanding. This song is another clear proof of that. The UNANIMATED cover “Life Demise” is good, has a Thrashy beat and is overall more straight-forward Black Metal. The production is also different, more polished. But I like it, even though I’ve never heard of UNANIMATED. Then again, the Black Metal genre is not one I’m specialised in.
THULCANDRA’s second album, “Under A Frozen Sun” is a fact. While the debut, “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” was very close to DISSECTION’s view on Black Metal – again, nothing wrong with that – it did sound a bit forced or rushed, even if the album in general was good to very good. With this new release I have the impression the guys spent more time on the compositions and production. This turned out for the better, as this album is a genuinely solid melodic Black Metal release that shows the Germans have improved and are on the right track. Whether or not the songs are similar to DISSECTION, UNANIMATED or even NECROPHOBIC, is trivial. Fact is that “Under A Frozen Sun” is very much worth purchasing.
- In Blood And Fire
- Black Flags Of Hate
- Ritual Of Sight
- Under A Frozen Sun
- Aeon Of Darkness
- Echoing Voices (A Cold Breeze Of Death)
- Gates Of Eden
- Life Demise (Unanimated Cover)
Steffen Kummerer – vocals, guitars
Sebastian Ludwig – guitars
Tobias Ludwig – bass
? – drums
[xrr rating=4/5 =”Rating: “]