THULCANDRA: "Dark Ascension"

Interview with Steffen Kummerer

By Theron Moore

 Thulcandra was formed 12 years ago by Steffen Kummerer (Obscura) to honor the black metal mastery of bands such as Dissection, Sacramentum, and Unanimated.

  After the unfortunate death of founding member Juergen Zintz the line-up was rounded out by the addition of Tobias and Sebastian Ludwig (Wraithcult, Ex-Helfahrt) and session drummer Seraph (Dark Fortress) re-energizing and allowing Thulcandra to complete their debut record "Fallen Angel's Dominion."

 Their sophomore release "Under a Frozen Sun" continued the bands' frost laden tribute to Swedish black / death metal,  progressing beyond that which might be construed as "tribute" only.  Their current record, "Ascension Lost" weaves that tapestry further establishing Thulcandra as the undisputed kings of  their genre firmly setting the band on a path of black metal righteousness and glory.

Wormwood Chronicles:  "Under a Frozen Sun," "Fallen Angel's Dominion" & "Ascension Lost" flow amazingly well together as if they were a trilogy.  Was that intended?

Steffen Kummerer (vocals / guitars):  No, it is not a trilogy; we just released three albums in a certain style and worked since our debut album with Kristian" the Necrolord" Wahlin in terms of artworks and designs overall. It was intended to create our own band identity while recording with V.Santura in his Woodshed Studio to elaborate a certain sound aside from our idea of songwriting and arranging songs. We barely had any lineup changes in the past few years, so everything merged into each other and with the rough beginning of our debut “Fallen Angel’s Dominion” to the new record “Ascension Lost” you can tell it is the same band, the same musicians growing within the band and style.

WC:  Why the five years between this and the last record?

SK:   When “Under A Frozen Sun” was released in 2011, we played a few exclusive single shows and a European Tour but then had to pass on offers since our drummer (Seraph) lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands which is about 800 miles from our homebase. Regular rehearsing was not possible. On the other hand I have been on tour about two years with Obscura which took most of my energy and time. The four years in between the albums didn’t feel that long if you look closer into it.

WC:  Black metal is a genre of music known for creating atmosphere and telling stories.  What story or stories are you trying to tell with this record?

SK:   Thulcandra is a tribute to the early 90's bands such as Dissection, Sacramentum, Dawn,  and the Moaning, among others. We capture this vibe and feeling of hand made music with a black metal sound and rock feeling within the production. It is all about feeling and music from the heart. Groove, dynamics, acoustic guitars, blast beats – there are so many colors in this genre, there is always an idea for a new drawing. The whole music of this genre is not present these days. Just Necrophobic and Naglfar, both from Sweden, release every now and then quality albums but no new band is climbing the ladder to achieve a real fan base nowadays.

WC:  Where does the creative inspiration come from?  Movies, music, etc?

 SK:   I collect old print magazines from the 90's and love books such as “Swedish Death Metal” by Daniel Ekeroth, Slayer Magazine XX, Tom G. Warrior’s “Only Death is Real” and my music collection. This is my biggest influence writing for Thulcandra. Getting into a certain spirit, take the guitar and write out of a gut feeling.  Also Bands like Grand Magus, Celtic Frost, the mentioned Dawn and Unanimated or old obscure rock bands had their share of input to “Ascension Lost”.

WC:  Satanism and / or anti-Christianity plays a big role in black metal.  Is Thulcandra either?

SK:   Personally I neglect all kinds of religion. We perform in a traditional way our cultural heritage staying anti-Christian. The free will of the individual is more important and represents my thoughts better than any religion could do.

WC  What's a big myth about black metal that Thulcandra is not?

SK:   “You’re true if you sound like crap” is a myth we definitely stay away from. Black Metal is not about following others; every band has their own individual music and lifestyle.

WC:  What's the black metal scene like in Germany?  Who do we, here in the states, need to know about?

SK:   The local scene is full of talented musicians and bands, just pick up one and support them. In recent years Dark Fortress, Secrets Of The Moon, Der Weg einer Freiheit and Ascension released promising records you should listen to. Each band sounds different and built up their own loyal fan base within the years.

WC:  What are the tour plans for 2015 looking like for Thulcandra?  Any chance of you coming to the states?

SK:   We would love to play a tour or at least some shows in North America. The Maryland Deathfest seems to be the festival in the States bringing European underground bands over the ocean, perhaps that could work out. We look for the right tour and of course touring partner to share our music with the many American fans and supporters.