European Black Metal has always been a force to be reckoned with, and it is great to see that it still thrives today. A mainstay on the scene, Steffen Kummerer leads the Melodic Black Metal act Thulcandra. Started in 2003, not long after Kummerer founded the Technical Death Metal act Obscura, for being as well known, Thulcandra has just as much of an impact once it finds an audience. In fact, Thulcandra are set to return with their fifth studio album Hail the Abyss via Napalm Records on May 19, 2023.
Standing out from the pact, Thulcandra is influenced by ’90s Black Metal bands such as Dissection, but somehow manage to modernize it in a lustrous way. This effect carries a unique sound with it that fans far and wide are sure to love. That in mind, Hail the Abyss offers eight tracks full of dark melodic riffs.
It all starts with “In the Eye of Heaven,” which is a solid beginning, incorporating all the tricks of the trade. Then, as the album really digs its talons into your ears, the title-track is full of speedy melodic riffs and the vocal grunts are appropriately applied in the most badass way. This is before the album pours into a gentle short melodic interlude called “At Night,” which is one of two melodic break-ups to the harsh yet flowing blackened tunes surrounding it. The second short melodic interlude is called “In Darkness We Descend,” and it appears towards the end of the album bringing in another sweet, gentle melody. This continues into the crescendo of the last tune “The Final Closure,” which similar to how it began, closes with a well-rounded powerful song that shows just what this German band is capable of.
Moving forward, “On the Wings of Cosmic Fire” is another brutally melodic track that certainly leaves you wanting more. This is while tracks such as “Velvet Damnation” and “Blood of Slaves” are a couple more Black Metal bangers.
Vocalist and Guitarist Steffan Kummerer exemplifies his diverse talent along with skill level all over Hail the Abyss. Having started at a young age learning piano, he now has taken his knowledge of creating melodic masterpieces to the next level. Obscura has such technical prowess, sticking to the style of Death Metal, and on the other side of the coin, Thulcandra is just as strong with its modernized Melodic Black Metal conviction.
In the end, there is truthfully not one weak track on Hail the Abyss. Each sounding unique, the commonality with some of these tunes vocally is the non-verbal guttural accented moments that are strategically placed throughout most. All aspects considered, Thulcandra should be on more people’s radar soon enough because they absolutely deserve it. The recent double duty tours Steffan Kummerer has been on with Obscura with Thulcandra opening for them is certainly a positive effort towards future recognition. For all it has to offer, Cryptic Rock gives Thulcandra’s Hail the Abyss 5 out of 5 stars.