One might argue that the artist’s intent is irrelevant. In Thulcandra’s case, taking the bands’ aesthetic intentions into consideration not only enriches and elevates the experience of the music, it also enhances its value for extreme metal.
When Thulcandra was founded in 2003 by Obscura’s lead guitarist and vocalist Steffen Kummerer and Juergen Zintz, it was done with one intention: To celebrate the music of bands from the golden age of Swedish extreme metal such as Dissection, Sacramentum and Unanimated; songs that comprehend, reinterpret and pay tribute to old-school Swedish blackened death metal and its overall aesthetic. Yet, after the demo “Perishness Around Us” was released in 2004 and preparations for the recording of Thulcandra’s first studio album were already taking place, events took a grim turn. All activities came to an abrupt end when Juergen Zintz tragically committed suicide.
Thulcandra was reborn when Tobias and Sebastian Ludwig (both Wraithcult, Ex-Helfahrt) und session drummer Seraph (Dark Fortress) joined forces with Kummerer in 2009 – and the band’s debut album “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” was finally recorded. With its release in 2010, a merciless winter storm was unleashed upon the masses that can only be described as the an accurate homage to Dissection, including the infamous “blue” Necrolord cover artwork and the grim reaper imagery.
By doing so, Thulcandra was coming “as close as possible to reviving those fallen heroes of old” as angrymetalguy.com put it. Fans and critics agreed, that with “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” the band had “created a mighty powerful and superbly executed melodic black metal album with exceptional songwriting and impressive musicianship. Through the debut, Thulcandra show they understand how to evoke the best moments of Dissection and pay tribute while still tearing your face off.”
The band continued to walk this musical path when releasing the follow-up “Under a Frozen Sun” only one year later. However, the second album shows increased ferocity, more ambitious and mature songwriting, improved musical variety and better balance of melody. But it wouldn’t be until the third album, that the band was going to show what it was truly capable of.
Backed by the expertise of highly-acclaimed musician and producer V. Santura (Woodshed Studios; Triptykon, Dark Fortress, Celtic Frost) and, again, by the visual mastery of the legendary Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin, Thulcandra in 2015 released “Ascension Lost”. The album demonstrated the band’s “ability to use their songwriting skills to craft a narrative, and push that narrative to interesting and haunting places,” as Metal Injection puts it – and concludes that “Metalheads who hope to see their beloved style retain both its menacing and ornate qualities should be happy.” Well, they were. And “Ascension Lost” was named one of the best releases of 2015 by critics and magazine throughout Europe and the US.
It was then, that Decibel Magazine respectfully put the band on top of its list of “Top 5 Dissection Clones” by stating: “The magic of Thulcandra is that they’re really fucking good. It’s not just nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. The Germans are actually writing songs, branched logically off of Storm of the Light’s Bane and predecessor The Somberlain. If Reinkaos wasn’t Dissection’s proper send off, then Thulcandra’s entire discography surely is.”
However, Thulcandra’s discography is not complete just yet. In 2019 the band announced a new album and a refreshed lineup, featuring M.D. (Haradwaith, Soulscape Project), Christian Kratzer (ex Hailstone) and Erebor (Secrets of the Moon, Haradwaith). Get your winter coats out, it might get very cold very soon.