Thulcandra - Fallen Angel's Dominion
Napalm Records
Melodic Black Metal / Dissection Worship
9 songs (45:39)
Release year: 2010
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Kyle

Every review you read of Thulcandra’s debut album Fallen Angel’s Dominion, including this one, will tell you that this German trio is little more than a very effective Dissection clone. Most bands when faced with such criticism would deny the fact that they model themselves explicitly on the sound of one band, but Thulcandra does no such thing, stating loud and proud their love for the legendary meloblack Swedes in interviews; advertisements for Fallen Angel’s Dominion in the form of banners have even declared something to the effect of “Dissection is reborn!”. Thulcandra’s name is one that has been gaining quite a bit of exposure across the metal landscape lately, and while this is perhaps a bit unfair since several other, more original black metal bands ( *cough* THE STONE *cough* ) are more deserving of the attention, one can’t deny that Fallen Angel’s Dominion is quite possibly the best piece of Dissection worship ever created.

But what to say about such an album? Thulcandra is obviously a talented group of musicians; other than some unintentional slowdown while drummer Seraph (The same drummer for Dark Fortress who only does session work on this album) performs blastbeats, the music is put together quite solidly, with tightly executed tremolo runs leading the way for Fallen Angel’s Dominion. Like on Dissection’s first two albums, these riffs are melodic, memorable, and catchy to the core, though when things slow down the guitar work is more power chord oriented. There are also a few beautifully arranged acoustic passages, which typically appear at the beginning of certain tracks. Drum work, aside from the aforementioned occasional slowdowns, is also impressive, nice and thrashy when it needs to be, and diverse enough to keep from going stale during Fallen Angel’s Dominion’s slower moments. The vocal work here is what you’d expect from an album like this, and while vocalist Steffen Kummerer’s rasps may not be groundbreaking in any way, they’re still chilly and effective nonetheless. Production is spot-on, nowhere near overpolished but far from raw, and all aspects of the music have a slight echoing quality to them that adds to the frozen atmosphere.

As you can see, the cover art is very well done and suitably grim, and is drawn by Kristian Wahlin, who is known for doing the art for many well known black metal bands such as… um, Dissection. “Okay, Kyle, we get it, Thulcandra sounds a whole helluva lot like Dissection, but are they original in any way?” Well… no, not at all, really. There’s even a (very good) cover of The Somberlain at the end of this album to drive that point home. And the band doesn’t do too much to stray from their fairly straightforward melodic black metal formula; riffs will often stick out in your mind as being especially memorable, and it’s quite easy to get sucked into the atmosphere of Fallen Angel’s Dominion if you treat it like a lesser Dissection album, but ultimately, that’s exactly what it is: A very likeable album that you’ll want to listen to on a snowy day, but in the end fails to reach the same level of songwriting , ambition, and fun (Thulcandra take themselves a bit more seriously than Dissection, unfortunately) as The Somberlain or Storm of the Light’s Bane. Let’s hope that in the future Thulcandra can improve their songwriting skills; if they can, they could very well be a viable and permanent replacement of their disbanded Swedish peers.

Killing Songs :
Album as a whole is good.
Kyle quoted 79 / 100
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