“Don’t fear the reaper—fear the majestic might of Thulcandra!” )
Thulcandra’s rise to power ignited when the Germany-based outfit unleashed their debut album, Fallen Angel’s Dominion, upon metaldom in 2010. The group, still fronted by founding member and visionary Steffen Kummerer (also of Obscura fame), have only tightened their hibernal grip on blackened death metal since. The desolate melodic emanations in follow-up albums Under a Frozen Sun (2011), Ascension Lost (2015), and A Dying Wish (2021) solidified Thulcandra as a superior force, expertly thrusting the magic and mystery of mid-’90s Nordic black-death metal into the modern era.
Founded by Kummerer, Jürgen Zintz (guitars), and Jonas Baumgartl (drums) in Landshut in 2003, Thulcandra’s mandate was clear. The trio’s affinity for dark, aggressive, and mellifluent metal had to come out. Two years later, the Perishness Around Us emerged, with tracks like “Frozen Kingdom” and “Immortality” demonstrating Thulcandra’s intrinsic potentiality. However, tragedy inside the band forced the Germans to go on a three-year hiatus. Only when Kummerer, who was also emergent with Obscura, revisited Perishness Around Us did he realize that Thulcandra needn’t be on ice. He restored Thulcandra, enlisting twin brothers Tobias and Sebastian Ludwig on bass and guitar, respectively. Indeed, the black horizons of Thulcandra’s new material served as the perfect foil for Kummerer’s progressive metal predilections in Obscura.
A multi-album deal with Austrian label Napalm Records was struck after Kummerer served up a promo containing “Night Eternal,” “Fallen Angel’s Dominion,” and “Frozen Kingdom.” From there, Thulcandra wrote four more tracks, including the lighthouse track “Spirit of the Night,” to complete their rancorous debut gem, Fallen Angel’s Dominion. Co-produced by V. Santura (Dark Fortress, Triptykon) and Kummerer at Woodshed Studios, Thulcandra skillfully captured the frostiest of winter vibes. Dark Fortress drummer Matthias “Seraph” Landes sat in for the recordings. At the same time, famed illustrator Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin (Dissection, Dark Tranquillity, Emperor) was on-boarded to engulf Thulcandra’s sonic malice in his trademark downhearted blue. Martin Loga of Powermetal.de called Fallen Angel’s Dominion “black metal with class.”
Kummerer and team took less than a year to return fire with Under a Frozen Sun. Written under a flurry of acclaim—meanwhile, Obscura’s sophomore album, Cosmogenesis, had smashed riff first into the US Billboard charts—Thulcandra’s response was bleaker and more aggressive yet surprisingly musical. With Landes now firmly in the drum position full-time, the quartet rampaged the upper atmosphere of blackened death metal. The winning combo of Santura and Kummerer at the production helm returned, as did Wåhlin, whose blue-hued apparition perfectly encapsulated the fiendishly rimy sounds it embraced. When Under a Frozen Sun was released in the fall of 2011, fans and critics praised the album, with Rock Hard’s Björn Thorsten Jaschinski extolling Thulcandra’s increasing supremacy. Tracks like “In Blood and Fire,” “Aeon of Darkness,” and video single “The Second Fall” proved the Germans were notably on the up.
Certainly, Thulcandra saw the world through cobalt eyes. Germans invaded the European festival circuit, wowing audiences at Metal Invasion 2011 and Bavarian Battle Winter 2011. Confident of their on-stage prowess, they embarked on their first-ever European tour in support of Under a Frozen Sun in 2012. Over the next several years, Thulcandra wrote surreptitiously and performed at the Baden in Blut Festival 2013, Dark Easter Metal Meeting 2014, and Party.San Metal Open Air 2014, with the best and brightest. Concurrently, Obscura had exploded into a worldwide phenomenon, leaving Kummerer to put Thulcandra on temporary hold. When Obscura’s tour commitments dwindled, the trio—Landes returned in a session capacity—could finally focus on Thulcandra’s much-anticipated third attack.
Ascension Lost was, by and large, a different animal than its predecessors. Very much in the spirit of the movements that influenced Thulcandra, the album—spearheaded by “The First Rebellion,” “The Second Fall,” and lead single “Exalted Resistance”—featured a more refined approach. The shivering riffs and brumal solos of Kummerer found their mark, but it’s the foundation that offered up more groove, a learned trait from ally Tom G. Warrior (Triptykon, Celtic Frost). “Throne of Will” exemplifies Ascension Lost’s newly concentrated form. Produced by Kummerer at his Klangfabrik Landshut studio, Thulcandra’s third opus was then mixed and mastered by Santura. Not one to break tradition, Wåhlin wielded the cover art again, unquestionably in cold-weather blue. Vaunted Metal Hammer scribed Martin Wickler called Ascension Lost, “A flawless homage to the Swedish legends of the early nineties.” Indeed, it was, but so much more.
Thulcandra toured hard in support of Ascension Lost. In Europe, the group appeared in prime slots at prestigious festivals such as Metal Embrace Festival 2015, Ragnarök Festival 2015, Kaltenbach Open Air 2016, and Schlachtfest XVIII while crossing the continent with Secrets of the Moon, Dødheimsgard, and Hellsaw to widespread acclaim. In 2017, Sebastian and Tobias Ludwig departed after nearly a decade in Thulcandra’s service. Kummerer replaced the duo with brothers Mariano “M.” Delastik (guitars) and Alessandro “Erebor” Delastik (drums), both of black metallers Haradwaith. The newly reconfigured three-piece ensconced on Thulcandra’s first European headline tour with death metallers Nailed to Obscurity.
Fast forward to 2019. Thulcandra found a permanent bassist in Hailstone guitarist Chris Kratzer. The group then commenced work on the gelid follow-up to Ascension Lost. To keep the band’s icy heart fit, they plunged into a successful 21-date European tour with Obscura, God Dethroned, and Fractal Universe in early 2020. Months later, disaster struck Thulcandra again, however. Kratzer, who had been in the band for less than a year, was killed in an accident. Gutted and with the global pandemic raging, Kummerer tried to pick up the pieces. Against all odds, he knew Thulcandra had to prevail. In Kraztzer’s honor, Kummerer and the Delastik brothers ventured on, completing A Dying Wish in 2021.
Front-lined by singles “Funeral Pyre,” “Nocturnal Heresy,” “Scarred Grandeur,” and the title track, A Dying Wish signified Thulcandra’s latest chapter, one marked by an increased infusion of traditional heavy metal against a backdrop of melodic blackened death metal. The group changed up the artwork—this time illustrated by German artist Herbert Lochner—and pulled in famed producer Dan Swanö (Dissection, Bloodbath, Opeth) and his studio, Unisound, to push their fourth album over the edge. A Dying Wish was also recorded at FiveLakes Tonstudio (Lunar Aurora, Craven Idol) and Kummerer’s Klangfabrik Landshut. As always, Thulcandra’s about a vibe. There’s a distinct “feel” to Thulcandra’s latest that’s distinctly old-school but without the trappings of it. From opener “Funeral Pyre” and mid-album rager “The Slivering Silver” to “Scarred Grandeur” and the epic title track, Thulcandra proved yet again why they’re atop death metal’s malefic vedette. The group’s entry into the Official German Album Charts—at #94—confirmed Thulcandra’s mastery. Esteemed writer Dom Lawson of Blabbermouth stated A Dying Wish “rips and terrorizes with the intensity of a debut.”
In support of A Dying Wish, Thulcandra blasted Europe with fellow death metallers, The Spirit, in early 2021. They are now prepping to frost North America on their first-ever tour with Fleshgod Apocalypse, Obscura, and Wolfheart in the winter of 2023. Meanwhile, the Germans are also readying for the follow-up to A Dying Wish titled, Hail the Abyss. Cooperation with knob-twiddler Swanö, who handled the crushing mix, was compulsory, as was the re-invitation to cover-master Lochner. Fans of the dreaming dead will see Hail the Abyss released by long-time partner Napalm Records in spring 2023. Don’t fear the reaper—fear the majestic might of Thulcandra!
Steffen Kummerer – Vocals & Lead Guitar
Mariano Delastik – Lead Guitar
Carsten Schorn – Bass Guitar
Alessandro Delastik – Drums