The mighty Thulcandra has returned to unleash onto the world their third magnum opus entitled Ascension Lost. A compelling work of dark art, Ascension Lost should thoroughly enrapture all who like their black metal in the grand tradition of Dissection and Darkthrone. Contained within limited editions of the album is the Perishness Around Us Demo 2005 Thulcandra recorded with the Jürgen Zintz, whose suicide would place the band’s future on a temporary hold. In this interview. we explore with founding member Steffen Kummerer the turbulent past (including the revisiting of the demo), the compelling present (the glorious new album), and promising future of the malevolent entity known as Thulcandra. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Thucandra, and how long the band has been together.
Thulcandra was formed back in 2003 by Steffen Kummerer (Obscura) and Jürgen Zintz. When Jürgen committed suicide in 2005, the band was on a hold for quite a while. Shortly before Jürgen’s suicide, Thulcandra recorded a demo, which was never released. When Steffen found that demo years later, he decided that there was a lot of potential in the songs and that they should be released, so he looked for new musicians. Sebastian and Tobias Ludwig from Helfahrt joined the band quickly after, and with Seraph from Dark Fortress, an excellent studio and live drummer was found. The musical roots are somewhere in the early 90ies Swedish Black and Death metal scene. Bands such as Dissection, Sacramentum, Unanimated, Dawn, Eucharist and old Dark Tranquility as well as Emperor made their stamp on Thulcandra’s compositions.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
The band is based in Munich, Germany. The city is gifted with a vital and alive scene, up to 30+ metal shows a month and a handful of talented underground bands, established acts and well known bands.
How does Ascension Lost compare to the previous Thulcandra releases?
Each album was written differently. Our demo and the debut album had a lot of ideas both guitarists jammed together and then recorded ideas and harmonies on the mentioned 4 tracker. While “Under A Frozen Sun” was built on a lot of guitar layers “Ascension Lost” is completely back to the roots oriented and is based on sheer endless riffing. While the equipment changed over the years from tape to a professional recording facility the way of writing music in this kind of style didn’t change too much. The latest minor difference may be some orchestral parts we add on a subliminal level to some songs to keep it fresh and interesting while staying loyal to our roots.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Ascension Lost?
“Ascension Lost” is a concept album, based on John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, mainly focused on the free will of an individual crafted within bible scenes.
Necrolord has created such tremendous cover art yet again. What has it been like working with Necrolord and how much input did you have on this cover?
We sent Kristian, the Necrolord, Wahlin our ideas and what we have in mind, but since he paints in oil the bands get what he has in mind. It is not a photoshop job where you change the artwork with a few clicks. The blue color and reaper among a preproduction of “Ascension Lost” and all lyrics was the content we sent him per mail.
When you look back on the Perishness Around Us Demo 2005 featured as Bonus Tracks on some of the Editions of Ascension Lost, what do you think of the music now? And how difficult was it to revisit those tracks Jürgen Zintz recorded on?
Looking back it was a demo tape among others. The production and performance was not the best, as a band we just played a few times together, the engineer never recorded a metal band before and for us it was a side project of Obscura back then. On the other side, the music already contains many signs and trademarks we established within the upcoming full length records. Talking about Jürgens part of the band is pretty difficult. I didn’t like the production and recordings at all, that was the reason the demo never was released. Now, 10 years later people still ask for the songs and it feels like finishing something you once started, almost like a relief. The recorded guitars have some mistakes here and there and it itches me to correct them, but we kept everything as it was recorded back then due to respect to Jürgen. The lines you hear now are what we recorded back then, we just mixed and mastered the demo as this never happened.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
There are many bands out there I would love to play with, but playing a tour with Unanimated would be a dream, although only diehard fans remember this band. I love their rock feeling within the black death songs and the great arrangements. “Ancient God of Evil” is one of my all time faves.
Has Thulcandra ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We discussed a few options in the past, but there wasn’t the right fitting tour for us yet. I wouldn’t rule it out, but we need to find the right touring partner first. Maybe a major festival like Maryland Deathfest could work out to finally play in the United States. We have a strong fanbase over there and people ask everytime we publish new shows when Thulcandra play in America.
Is Steffen still working with Obscura and what is current going on with that band? And has Thulcandra and Obscura even toured or played any shows together – or would you want to?
Well, I founded Obscura in 2002. While I answer this interview the majority of the new album is finished as a preproduction and I am about to record the last songs. We already booked a studio date and prepare tours for the second half of 2015. And of course, we work on another North America tour. More details on this very soon. Playing two sets a night doesn’t feel right to me. Watching the same frontman two hours long may bore the fans a lot, so would rather not do that.
Some of your members are/were involved with Helfahrt. Is Helfahrt still active and how did/does their music compare to Thulcandra? What are the future plans for Helfahrt?
Very interesting question! Helfahrt is not active anymore, unfortunately. The music was in a more pagan / black metal direction compared to Thulcandra.
What’s up next for Thulcandra?
We are looking forward holding the CDs and vinyls in our hands next week. A few more shows are coming in and hopefully we find the right tour to confirm soon.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thank you for taking time to support Thulcandra & see you on tour! – Steffen Kummerer
Members: Steffen Kummerer – vocals/guitars, Sebastian Ludwig – guitars, Tobias Ludwig – bass, Erebor – drums
Ascension Lost is now available worldwide from Napalm Records!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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