At long last, the new Dissection Album!! Well, it isn’t..but it should be! After 2006’s massively disappointing Reinkaos album and the subsequent tragic loss of Jon Nodtveidt, the once mighty and majestic Swedish black metal band was part of metal history. The markers on Dissection’s grave being the highly esteemed albums The Somberlain and Storm of the Light’s Bane. Although there will never be another Dissection, Thulcandra is trying with all their collective might be the next best thing and their debut Fallen Angel’s Dominion comes as close as possible to reviving those fallen heroes of old. If you absolutely detest bands aping the style and sound of a seminal genre icon, cease reading and go find other worthwhile pursuits. However, if you are willing to listen to a quality band that forsakes originality in favor of blatant hero worship, stay tuned folks.
Thulcandra is the brainchild of one Stefan Kummerer (Obscura) and he, along with several former Obscura band mates, have created a mighty powerful and superbly executed melodic black metal album with exceptional songwriting and impressive musicianship. Through the debut, Thulcandra show they understand how to evoke the best moments of Dissection and pay tribute while still tearing your face off. There are some monster sized and razor sharp riffs adorning many of the 7 original tracks here (you also get an obligatory Dissection cover). Call these guys copycats and unoriginal all you want but this album smokes!
After the mandatory intro, Thulcandra lays out their mission statement with “Night Eternal,” and man, they come out swinging! This is one of the better black metal songs I have heard in a while despite (and possibly because of) the obvious Dissection influences. This is really a storming and thrashing black metal demon and it leaves me conflicted because it’s an utter Dissection clone but it’s so damn good I can’t bash it! Following this is the title track featuring a very cool classic metal riff that bleeds over into blackened thrash fury and then comes the other standout track, “Frozen Kingdoms.” This one has the same Nodtveidt inspired style and mood but also channels the mighty Immortal in the riffs and song structure and any Immortal influence is a good influence. This is a top flight black metal song no matter how you Dissect it! The balance of Fallen Angel’s Dominion maintains this high quality through to the end and keeps things heavy, black and melodic enough to impress but not distract.
At the end of the day, Thulcandra will be limited by the perception they are a tribute band of sorts and I’m sure they embraced that fact from the beginning. However, this is a great black metal album, tribute or no. If you like Dissection, you will like this plenty. If you like well done and very professional melodic black metal, this will impress you. If however, you are a music snob and look down your nose at anyone not striving for the very cutting edge of originality, you may have some issues here. For those of you in the latter category, lighten the fuck up and enjoy this damn album!!