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A spell was cast and the sky turned red... - 80%

HS, June 15th, 2010

After 7 years Thulcandra - more a side project than a real band - finally released their first album on the Austrian label Napalm Records. Their style can be described as Swedish mixture of black/death metal directly coming out from the 90s. It's mostly fast paced and melodic with high-pitched guitars, but it also has calm acoustic parts and some nice solos in the songs. Although Thulcandra hails from Germany, they sound thoroughly Swedish.

Even more, this is how Dissection's third album could have sounded like if they didn't change their style on Reinkaos. The influence couldn't be more obvious: Take the song structures, the fast drumming, the icy guitars, the acoustic parts, even the cover artwork was made the legendary Necrolord himself. Everything here sounds exactly like Dissection. But does that mean plagiarism? Yes and no. Steffen Kummerer stated in an interview that they didn't even try to be overly original, they see "Fallen Angel's Dominion" as a TRIBUTE to the bands that influenced them: Dissection, Sacramentum, Unanimated and Eucharist. But in my opinion the music is original enough that it may not be regarded as a mere rip-off of these bands.

The songs are all on a constantly high level. There is not much to complain about since the musicians perfectly know how to handle their instruments. The production is almost perfect, I think it could be a bit more raw, but that's a matter of taste.

One of my favourite songs is "Everlasting Fire". It begins with a short melodic intro, suddenly the drums kick in, the vocalist shouts an angry "UH!!" and the riff-massacre begins. A real headbanger.

Same for the title song "Fallen Angel's Dominion". One killer riff after another makes a real highlight out of it. It's maybe the best song on the album and Jon Nödtveidt (RIP) would be proud if he could have heard it.

All in all it's a really nice album. The only problem is that it simply lacks identity. Don't get me wrong, although the album may not be very original, I'd recommend it to fans of this style any time. But for the next album I hope that they won't orientate themselves too much on their Swedish idols again.