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Thulcandra - Ascension Lost : Metal albums reviews

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Thulcandra - Ascension Lost, brief review

Thulcandra - Ascension Lost

Band name: Thulcandra

The halcyon days of melodic black and death metal can be traced back twenty years to a time when the pioneers were busy defining and moulding the sounds that are now widely accepted as being hugely influential on modern heavy music. They may not be as affluent in their purest form as they once were, but their relevance, as well as their reach, has rarely wavered.

Formed in 2003, Munich's Thulcandra went on hiatus soon afterwards - returning seven years later to begin churning out grandiose Dissection-worship to the applause of those who missed the atmosphere and bite of the old school sound. Ascension Lost is, predictably yet gratifyingly, a continuation of that sound; a superlative sea of frozen black metal riffing, enshrouded within brooding atmospherics and longing melodies.

Not a huge amount has changed since 2010's Fallen Angel's Dominion, including the impressive artwork from Kristian Wahlin (Slaughter of the Soul, In The Nightside Eclipse, Storm of the Light's Bane) that sets the perfect scene for Thulcandra's grand assault. Yet progression can be heard, and even if they do still gaze proudly at the shadows of their peers, they no longer stand within them.

With no overblown intro deemed necessary, opening track The First Rebellion lays the perfect foundation - seven minutes of full-on Scandinavian sorcery that switches between subdued, introspective melancholia and razor sharp aggression that is both meticulously crafted and sublimely executed. The natural flow of the songs is commendable; the icy riffs melt to form melodies, and in turn the melodies become intricate solos that flow naturally around the blast beats and pounding percussion.

The flesh of the album is a maelstrom of finely controlled chaos, revealing depth and melody that may not be initially apparent. It requires a more patient response from the listener, and in return the album is a triumph of melodic black metal that challenges and rewards in equal measures. Even the more pedestrian moments open up upon repeated listens, with Throne of Will and Sorrow of the One containing exceptional guitar work that may have previously been lost to a wandering mind. There is mood and emotive energy in abundance here as the band plough through Demigod Imprisoned and Exalted Resistance; the storm at full strength with Steffen Kummerer's frost-bitten growls a constant presence at the forefront of the turmoil.

Thulcandra understand their place in the world. They see themselves as torch-bearers for a sound that, while continually waning in proficiency and receding into the realms of memory, stands tall as one of the most significant in all of heavy music history - a conglomeration of the extreme and the melodic that has opened doors for so many. Consequently, Ascension Lost is a beast of ravenous hunger; provocative in its black metal chord progressions and razor sharp instrumentation, and given the chance to breathe, an album full of intrigue, melody, and songs masterfully crafted by a band whose focus has never been sharper.

Track listing

01 - The First Rebellion
02 - Throne Of Will
03 - Deliverance In Sin And Death
04 - Demigod Imprisoned
05 - Interlude
06 - Exalted Resistance
07 - The Second Fall
08 - Sorrow Of The One
09 - Ascension Lost
10 - Outro

Album: Ascension Lost, review

The bands country origin: Germany

Metal albums reviews

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