Thulcandra – Ascension Lost

Rating: 3.5/5
Napalm Records
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Thulcandra-Ascension-LostBand line-up:

Steffen Kummerer – guitars & vocals
Sebastian Ludwig – guitars
Seraph – drums
Tobias Ludwig- bass

  1. The First Rebellion
  2. Throne of Will
  3. Deliverance in Sin and Death
  4. Demigod Imprisoned
  5. Interlude
  6. Exalted Resistance
  7. The Second Fall
  8. Sorrow of the One
  9. Ascension Lost
  10. Outro

Even though I am not a big fan of black metal, or the “kvlt”, I’ve been obsessed with Dissection. Some time ago, my friend had suggested to look into the band Thulcandra. I listened to their albums and I really liked the Dissection influenced music, which Thulcandra doesn’t hid Ultimately however, I felt I wanted something more, something I haven’t heard before, which Thulcandra did not deliver.  Such was the case with their latest album, Lost Ascension. True enough, these black metallers sound like a tribute to Jon Nödtveidt’s vision of black metal, a comparison, which should make any band proud at a first glance, but may also be to its detriment. Ascension Lost, while trying to carry on with Dissection’s legacy, didn’t really inject it with enough of their own “Thulcandra metal” element.

Returning after a lengthier absence, since 2011’s Under the Frozen Sun, Thulcandra continues playing their “frozen forest” atmospheric black metal, with lyrics focusing on the rise and fall of Lucifer. The opening track “The First Rebellion” really kicks things into motion and actually sets the tone for the rest of the album with its fast and aggressive riffs and regular tempo changes. The technical aspect is also quite apparent. There is a constant interplay between the guitars, one playing darker rhythms, the other playing melodic leads, backed by Seraph’s fast blast beating drums and the darkly tuned bass of Tobias Ludwig. The slower paced tracks deserve to be mentioned too,  like “Throne of Will” and “Second Fall”, transmitting a breath of slower pace as opposed to the faster tracks on the rest of the album.

Listening to Ascension Lost for about a third time, I started to get the feeling that I was a bit underwhelmed. It was hard to pin point why exactly – I loved the compositions and the Dissection sound, but ultimately, I came to the conclusion that Ascension Lost was sounding too much like Dissection, instead of offering something original. Perhaps to hold true to a sound similar to Dissection, perhaps scared to tread off the walked path, I felt that Ascension Lost is something I’ve heard before, thus the album did not fully satisfy me.

This is not to say that Ascension Lost is not enjoyable. Much to the contrary, it’s a wonderful album which was well executed. However, as long as they keep sounding like Dissection, they’ll always be compared to it, which is not necessarily a good thing. Fans of Dissection will definitely be pleased. Fans of atmospheric black metal in general may find that this is nothing new under the sun; so they may, like me, feel a little disappointed. Also an aspect to elaborate on is whether the genre itself still has anything new to offer, or whether it has entered into a stagnant phase with very little room for anything original.  I listened to Ascension Lost a number of times and it was enough, so whether you should get this album is up to you and your expectations. Thulcandra is one of the top atmospheric metal bands out there right now, but its latest album may miss the mark in your case, like I felt it did in mine.

Review by Adam Zelenay