By Dr. Abner Mality

One thing about The Ukraine's Thunderkraft nobody can deny...they try their absolute damndest to sound like nobody else. Now that counts for a lot in this day of bands endlessly emulating the past or jumping on the latest trend. But alas, Thunderkraft have overdone their attempt to combine genres so much that they wind up as jacks of all trades, masters of none.

The press clip announcing that they are industrial folk doom death metal set the tone. You'd have to be a hell of a band to combine all of those effectively...and it can be done, the new Thy Catafalque proves it conclusively. But you, Thunderkraft, are no Thy Catafalque (who is?). The songs here are ambitious, epic attempts to do the band description justice...the industrial electronics are very noticeable and ever present, but often to the song's detriment, as on "Future World". The chirps, bleeps and clanks often sound obvious and false, though there are times they work well, as on "Towards A New Dawn". The folk and symphonic elements are there, too, and the results are equally mixed there. The lyrics and indeed the very song titles are all in Cyrillic Ukrainian, making them utterly impenetrable to Western ears. Strong comprehensible lyrics would have helped "Totentanz".

To their credit, the band is truly heavy, with a thick, clear guitar sound capable of crushing tones. Are they death metal? Fans of Autopsy or Asphyx would find it debatable. But nor are they commercial in any way. Very slight traces of black metal arise but are negligible.

At the end of the day, we are left with a unique album from a band with ambition, but who have bitten off more than they can chew. "Totentanz" has its strong moments, but they are pretty fragmentary. Hopefully these guys can rein themselves in a bit and create the strong work they have the capability to create.