Thulcandra – Under A Frozen Sun (Napalm Records)

Saturday, 23rd March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Sometimes it helps to read a band’s bio. They’re usually informative, mostly full of ill-worded bravado, but ultimately serve the purpose of pointing out things to slow and usually-confused journalists like yours truly. Granted, Blistering will on occasion, purposely not read a band’s biography in order to not be swayed during the listening experience, yet it would have helped last year when reviewing Thulcandra’s debut Fallen Angel’s Dominion. We pointed out that this was unintentional Dissection worship at its finest. Little did we realize that it was in fact, intentional Dissection worship. Oops.

The side project of Obscura mainman Stefan Kummerer, Thulcandra’s sole purpose is to pay homage to the aforementioned Dissection, who bit the dust in 2006 after Jon Nodveidt’s suicide. Revelers of Scandinavian black metal are well-aware of the mastery that is The Somberlain and Storm of the Light’s Bane, which is the sound Thulcandra is copying. Therefore, a welcome spread of razed and melodic riffs are kicked out on Under A Frozen Sun, in addition to an icy and very tasteful atmosphere to boot. Nodveidt would be proud.

Going down the line, a lot of the album’s tracks have some kind of memorable takeaway, including “Black Flags of Hate,” where Kummerer’s superior riff abilities are pushed to the fore via an array of lightning-fast picking and harsh melodies. The lenghty “Gates of Eden” manages to build upon the epic song structures Nodveidt doled out on Storm, simply without some of the breathtaking pauses.

Since (obviously) we’re never getting another Dissection album, Under A Frozen Sun is the next best thing, hands-down. Kummerer and co. have a tight grip on the legendary Swedes’ sound, so much so, that if you didn’t know any better, you’d think this was a new Dissection album. That’s why you read things.

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