German melodic black metallers keep the search going on album number three.
From the moment Thulcandra released their debut Fallen Angel’s Dominion in 2010 they have been on the watchlist of many a black metal follower. The following year saw the release of Under A Frozen Sun and it’s been a blackened star on the rise ever since.
The German quartet have built a path for themselves on the road to melodic black metal glory but it’s not an easy route to have chosen. Labelled by some as Dissection clones, not necessarily in a negative way, but hardly a rousing compliment on individuality. The band have ploughed the sinister furrow for a few years and now the chance to break free from such stigmatic confines may have come.
Leading off with “The First Rebellion” is a smart move by the Munich maestros as it illustrates perfectly why the music press and fans have been raving about this band. It begins with short guitar line that is soon joined by a crashing rhythm section which takes flight and throws the track into a brilliant maelstrom of melodic madness before a sweepingly glorious acoustic interlude halfway through that is interrupted, temporarily, by the piercing roar of vocalist Steffen Kummerer.
“Exalted Resistance”, “The Second Fall” and “Demigod Resistance” all make the most of the naturally aggressive nature of Black Metal and throw the listener around the barren winter wasteland evoked by the stark and uncompromising sound.
The album’s guitar lead melodies, courtesy of leader Kummerer and guitarist Sebastian Ludwig, are at times sublime and other times truly heavy and distorting as the soul takes a dive down into the darkness. The structure and composition of the all the tracks are to be admired as to the energy and vigorous nature of the players. The production is crystal clear and atmospherically chilling throughout
Ok, some of the harsher critics may well point out that there is nothing on this album that truly stands out and that the band’s influences can be clearly heard but that’s not really the point. Not every album by a band can redefine their sound. What bands can do, and what Thulcandra have done, is to fully explore the range and depth of their musical vision within the confines of their chosen style. It bears repeated turntable spins.
It’s clear that this is a band that has not yet reached their peak but they are performing a mightily impressive climb.
Steffen Kummerer – Guitars & Vocals
Sebastian Ludwig – Guitars
Seraph – Drums
Tobias Ludwig – Bass
Donnie’s Rating: 8/10