Thulcandra
Under a Frozen Sun


3.5
great

Review

by Ben Kuettel USER (43 Reviews)
May 15th, 2015 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thulcandra vary up their sound while staying true to their roots.

Thulcandra were formed to celebrate bands from the golden age of Swedish extreme metal. They essentially play a modernized style of Swedish blackened death metal in the vein of bands like Dissection and Sacramentum. Melody and complex instrumentation are emphasized, and despite the obvious influences, their own vision from their depicted imagery and sound is impressive in its own right. An interesting fact to note is how all of their covers feature the same skeletal reaper in the same frozen wasteland, giving their albums a connected theme. They each feel like connected chapters of a larger vision, and each album has a similar sound, and cover art, for a reason. Thulcandra are passionate about their roots, and their albums do an impressive job of showing it. Under A Frozen Sun kicks off with the band's most ferocious and powerful song yet, "In Blood and Fire." An acoustic guitar intro quickly gives way to pounding drumming, and soon enough some of their most evil sounding guitar riffs and tremolo picked melodies yet. The eight-minute epic slows down briefly in the middle, but this doesn't last too long. Soon enough it launches back into full force, Steffan Kummerer's tortured screams adding to the ferocious whirlwind of musical insanity. Toward the end, it slows again for some medieval sounding passages of riffing and soloing. It then returns to the main melodies, before eventually crashing to a halt for the acoustic intro returning, with harmonies featured in the background.

"In Blood and Fire" is the best example of what Thulcandra do best: a punishing mix of black and death metal with moments of melody and thrash riffs juxtaposed with a minimal use of quieter moments. The rest of the tracks exhibit different areas of these strengths. "Ritual of Sight" in particular makes use of melodic thrash riffing in the bridge alongside anthemic vocals, before speeding up again to make way for crushing blast beats and melodic soloing. Thulcandra are content to pay homage to their influences while squeezing all of their strengths into each song. The title track in particular features an abundance of melodic passages, along with riffing and atmospheric guitarwork with mostly midtempo drumming. Soloing and acoustic guitar strumming appear later, making for one of their most melodic and varied songs to date.

"Echoing Voices (A Cold Breeze of Death)" is one of the shortest songs of Thulcandra's career, a true speed demon with one of the most evil sounding guitar leads during the bridge and outro. Ferocious tremolo picking, screaming, and blasts permeate the rest. Clocking in at almost 10 minutes long, album closer "Gates of Eden" brings everything together with some of the most creative and technical riffs the guitarists have ever penned to record. It closes with an epic extended solo full of guitar shredding and tapping. Under A Frozen Sun doesn't do a whole lot different from Thulcandra's debut, but it does see the bandmembers flex their muscles in more ways then before. Their balance of melody with increased ferocity appear at just the right times, edging out their debut for being more ambitious in songwriting and musical variety. This second effort shows a noticeable increase in songwriting maturity, but it won't be until their third album that Thulcandra will truly show what they are capable of.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
May 15th 2015


13138 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Constructive criticism welcome, everyone who enjoys bands like Dissection needs to hear this

Gameofmetal
May 15th 2015


6920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review looks good to me, though I am a bit on the tired side. Need to check the band out.

TalonsOfFire
May 15th 2015


13138 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You'd love them, they're not gonna change your life or anything but some of the easiest to listen to black metal around, and they don't even need to try

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
May 16th 2015


16831 Comments


Decent review man, overall, it feels a little by the numbers but it's still a good read.

But because I'm me, I must nitpick:-

...alongside their own vision for what they depict in imagery and sound with their influences


Slightly awkward wording aside, you should specify whom you're referring to at certain parts in this sentence. Is it meant to be Thulcandra's vision of what Dissection and Sacramentum depict in imagery and sound? Because as it is right now, it sounds like you're saying this is Thulcandra's vision of themselves, which is kinda obvious.

An interesting fact to note is how all of their covers feature the same skeletal reaper in the same frozen wasteland, giving their albums a connected theme. They each feel like connected chapters of a larger vision, and each album has a similar sound for a reason


Nothing is really wrong here, but this segment is quite arbitrary and it sounds like you're reading too far into things whilst simultaneously neglecting to specify what the overall vision/narrative is, assuming there even is one. If you simply mean to say "it's Dissection worship" then, again, that's quite obvious.

Under A Frozen Sun kicks* off


The rest of the review is dedicated towards describing individual songs, which all sound rather similar to be honest. You could have elected to describe the album as a whole, using tidbits of information about specific songs to back your points and saved yourself a good 100-150 words and ending up with a much more concise/engaging review.

Have a look at the amount of times you've repeated words in describing songs, for example:-

"guitar" is used 9 times
"melody/melodic" are also used 9 times
"riff" is used 8 times
Even "epic" is used 4 times

This second effort shows a noticeable increase in songwriting maturity, but it won't be until their third album that Thulcandra will truly show what they are capable of.


This is a rather apathetic way to end a 4 star (80% / B+) review, you should be selling the album, while hinting at further progression.

But yeah.... pos

ScuroFantasma
May 16th 2015


3217 Comments


Gotta second what Jac said about repetition. Review feels a bit flat at time too, like a good amount of the information is just 'factual' rather than supportive of your argument. But otherwise I found it to be an entertaining read and it is well writen, in the end it makes me want to check the album out, so posi.

Digging: Thy Art Is Murder - Holy War

Gameofmetal
May 18th 2015


6920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dis is a pretty good album



dissections pretty hard but m/

TalonsOfFire
May 18th 2015


13138 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks guys I'll try to work through some of those changes, this was definitely harder to write than for their debut because I had said most of what was on my mind already. This is basically the same album haha, and glad you're enjoying it game



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