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'Ascension Lost'
(Napalm Records)

jools green

Jools Green


Germany's Thulcandra have always competently straddled the gulf between melodic black and death Metal, their sound a winning mix of raging riffs, moving melodies, pummelling, well varied drum work and superb rasping vocals which culminate in a powerfully atmospheric manner.

They are strongly in the vein of Dissection, particularly the 1995 legendary release 'Storm Of The Lights Bane', to the point where all three of Thulcandra's releases, 2010s 'Fallen Angel's Dominion', 2011s 'Under A Frozen Sun' and this latest release 'Ascension Lost' have a similar blue themed and style of art work as found on 'Storm...'.

Although, aside from the artwork, this similarity to Dissection has decreased soundwise with each subsequent release showing a positive development of their personal style.

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'Ascension Lost' is a really great album, there is no disputing that. The musicianship is superb across the board, technically excellent and it is easily on a par with their previous release 'Under A Frozen Sun' but for me it's doesn't quite reach the powerfully moving qualities of their debut 'Fallen Angel's Dominion'.

But moving away from nostalgia, it still has a lot to offer and if considered as a standalone album as it should be, it's a well executed, ten track release spanning forty-five minutes of melancholic melodic black/death Metal, awash with some pretty majestic riffing, hugely atmospheric guitar leads, and as always completed by founder/vocalist Steffen Kummerer's superb rasping powerfully blackened and well varied vocals and the overall depth and layering to the sound is as impressive as ever.

Opening track, 'The First Rebellion', spans a hefty seven and a half minutes, a faster paced track for the greater part but it does rise and fall, dropping to a melancholically slow one just after midway allowing room for some superb guitar work.


Mid tempo 'Throne Of Will' opens on blood pumping, chugging riffs and has a superb midpoint guitar solo while 'Deliverance In Sin And Death' is black and intense with hugely catchy rhythms with mid-point guitar work to make your hair stand on end. 'Demigod Imprisoned' has a stunning guitar opener before ramping up to a faster blackened pace.

Breaking it up a bit, 'Interlude' is a dark moody guitar led instrumental before the blackened, pummelling onslaught, 'Exalted Resistance'.

'The Second Fall' has chugging riffs for its backbone, interwoven with subtle melody and orchestration, then a midpoint, brief drop away before a chunk of superb second half guitar work, the closing vocals taking on a tortuous edge; a great track.

On 'Sorrow Of The One' the vocals have a harrowing feel towards the close, with hugely effective results. Title track 'Ascension Lost' opens with mood setting pummelling drums and haunting guitars, with dark haunting spoken vocals before an acoustic guitar close. The closing 'Outro' is a beautifully melancholic guitar led instrumental.

The limited edition Digipak (100 copies) of 'Ascension Lost' also has four bonus demo tracks, 'Perishness Around Us', 'Frozen Kingdom', 'Dreaming' and 'Immortality' from the 2005 demo, recorded shortly before the death of one of the original guitarists, Jürgen Zintz.

So the question that remains is this; Is 'Ascension Lost' the soundtrack for all fallen on the road to immortality? Could be? Give it a listen and decide for yourself?

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