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Thulcandra: Echoes of Ice Cold Blackened Death

Taking the listener on a dark journey through frozen soundscapes, Thulcandra present blackened death metal in the grand tradition of Dissection, Necrophobic, and other brilliant and obscure bands of the early 90’s Swedish underground.  The band features Obscura mastermind Steffen Kummerer, who is an absolutely commanding performance on vocals and guitar.  The album artwork is absolutely classic, as conceived by the great Necrolord.  And in addition to their own original sonic blasts of ice cold blackened death, Thulcandra unleashes a thrilling cover of Life Demise by the influential Unanimated.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with Steffen Kummerer to find out more about their latest release Under The Frozen Sun, now available from Napalm Records…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Thulcandra, and how long the band has been together.
We founded the band back in 2003 with Jürgen Zintz and me, Steffen Kummerer, on guitars and main composers. Just one year later the first rehearsal demo ‘Perishness around us‘ was recorded in a small battered studio in Landshut, Germany. Unfortunately we never released it, as we were not satisfied with the quality and the final mix we got. A few months later Juergen decided to explore the space between a train and the rails, so with his passing the whole band was on hold for many years. Actually there was no chance to go on with Thulcandra until I moved into another city and stumbled across our old rehearsal demos and the ‘Perishness around us‘ MCD. When I listened to the whole songs I felt that the whole thing was not closed as it should be. In 2008, I finally started to work on new material and re-arranged some old riffs and tracks to form the basis of what is now ‘Fallen Angel’s Dominion‘. When the grim twins Tobias & Sebastian Ludwig joined the fold, Thulcandra was reborn and the debut album was finished.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are based in Landshut, Germany. We have local bands such as Obscura, Dark Fortress, Crom, Triptykon among others.

How does this album compare to or differ from the previous effort?
Well, the first album was mainly based on old ideas and here and there even on the demos the old lineup wrote in 2003. In fact I wanted to finish the songs and the album I started once. The result is “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” where the twins just rarely were involved as most of the material was already written before and I rearranged a few things new and just came up with a few new compositions. After the massive and positive feedback we got for our debut album the band was hungry to write material as a group and show what we really can write, what we are able to compose nowadays. So when we started to collect new ideas it went pretty fast for everyone involved and we decided to come up with a new release. In fact we are very satisfied with the result including artwork, photos, production and last but not least the songs. From my point of perspective there is a huge difference between “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” and “Under A Frozen Sun” in quality and songwriting. You can clearly hear the higher standard of the new compositions compared to the old material we used on the debut.

What made you decide to cover the Unanimated song Life Demise and do you know if anyone connected with Unanimated has heard it and commented on it?
It is always a pleasure to record songs you know since years but bring in your own input on them. We choose “Life Demise” from Unanimated as it is a fantastic song and we love the whole album “Ancient God of Evil“. Also we want to support this band with spreading the name via this cover as their reunion was a bit gone shortly. Unanimated are definitely one of the most influentional bands for this kind of music. I am pretty sure that this band would have been on the same level of popularity as Dissection if they would ever toured within Europe. I do not know if anyone of the band had the chance to listen to the song yet. The album is not released so far.

The great Necrolord did you cover art once again. What has it been like working with Necrolord and how much input did you have on the art?
We are very satisfied with Necrolord’s work and he became a part of our band as well as the productions at Woodshed Studios, Germany. Kristian’s way of painting his artworks in oil represents also our old school attitude. A cover made with photoshop within five minutes could never represent our music the right way. I am glad to work with him and collaborate also on the next records to keep our vision. I just sent him a pre-production of the new album and a few excerpts of the lyrics, then he just started the artwork and finished it as it is.

Is Steffen Kummerer still working with Obscura and what would it be like if Thulcandra and Obscura decided to tour together?
Steffen Kummerer IS Obscura. The package could be interesting for everyone, we should keep this thought.

What could one expect from a live Thulcandra show?
Fog, fast songs and a dejavu from the early 90ies if you are old enough.

Any chance we could see Thulcandra doing some shows here in the States?
We have an American booker, the Pantheon Agency. We would love to come over for some shows or a full tour if there is the right offer. Just get in touch if you are interested.

Germany is very famous for their BEER!!! What is your all time favorite German beer and why? And do you like any beer made in the States?
I don’t like beer that much. If just has to be cold, then you can even drink Bud.

Any final words of wisdom?
Give „Under A Frozen Sun“ a listen and see you on tour!

Thulcandra is:
Steffen Kummerer – vocals/guitars
Sebastian Ludwig – guitars
Tobias Ludwig – bass
Seraph – drums

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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