Hails and welcome back to the metal front and of course, congratulations with the release of your debut album 'Fallen Angel's Dominion'. Before we get into that, let's look at the band's history, which goes back to 2003. You haven't been very lucky at the beginning of your career and due to the loss of your fellow partner in crime, Jürgen, it took the band seven years to finally release the album. Can you enlighten our readers about the band's history a bit?
Thank you for the kind words, great to hear that you enjoy the new album. We are satisfied with the debut album and reading the newest reviews and rating which are very positive so far. We founded the band back in 2003 with Jürgen Zintz and me on the guitars and main composers. Just one year later the first rehearsal demo 'Persihness Around Us' was recorded in a small battered studio in Landshut, Germany. Unfortunately we never released it, as we where not satisfied with the quality and the final mix we got. A few months later Juergen decided to explore the space between a train and the rails, so with his passing the whole band was on hold for many years. Actually there was no chance to go on with Thulcandra until I moved into another city and stumbled across our old rehearsal demos and the 'Perishness Around Us' MCD. When I listened to the whole songs I felt that the whole thing was not closed as it should be. In 2008, I finally started to work on new material and re arranged some old riffs and tracks to form the basis of what is now 'Fallen Angel's Dominion'. When the grim twins Tobias and Sebastian Ludwig joined the fold, Thulcandra was reborn and the debut album was finished.
What have you been doing musically during your years of “absence” except for Thulcandra?
In the meantime I built up the band Obscura and toured several times in Europe, the USA, Japan & Mexico. So there always have been music in my life besides studying media production in a university in Germany for many years. During the years I also helped out some friends and their bands and recorded other music, yet unreleased.
Let's talk about the music a bit; listening to the album one can immediately hear the comparison with Swedish masters Dissection and you also openly admit the influence this band has on Thulcandra. Can you explain your personal love for Dissection and what made you follow their footstep with Thulcandra?
Dissection is a significant and important influence on my personal way of writing and composing music. Especially when it comes to harmonies, Dissection where very original compared to most of the other band of this genre. When we started Thulcandra, we had more melodic influences, Dark Tranquillity and Eucharist just to mention. With the passing of Juergen, one of the main composers was gone as well, so my personal influences such as Dissection and Unanimated where fully integrated into the sound of Thulcandra. 'The Somberlain' and 'Storms of the Light's Bane' where inaccessible at that time, and honestly speaking, they are timeless classics from my point of view.
Although you also admit other influences, Dissection clearly remains the main influence. Even when you look at the magnificent cover artwork, you can almost feel the atmosphere of 'Storm Of The Light's Bane' and the 'Where Dead Angels Lie' EP. I don't mean this in a negative way, but it's almost as if you wanted to everything by the “laws of Nödveidt”! Your comment please…
We see this band as a tribute to the old death and black metal scene from the early nineties, this was the music we grew up with. There is not the intention to be original as possible, we just want to compose in exact this way and keep on the trademarks of that time. In fact, we speak about the 'laws of Necrolord' I guess, he listened to a preproduction of the album and thought it could be released in 1994, so we started working on this artwork you have on your screen right now. The blue colour is a trademark of his work, just have an eye on the covers of Emperor, Grand Magus or even The Black Dahlia Murder. Personally, I am a huge fan of real artworks. A collage you can create within five minutes with photoshop would destroy the feeling completely, so we decided to work with Kristian.
Of course I'm sorry for Jürgen's decision to take his own life and the same goes for Jon. But when you think of it, it might also have had positive consequences for Thulcandra today. I mean, at the time when the band started, Dissection was still active, so Thulcandra would have easily been labelled as a clone. But now – as I mentioned in my review – Thulcandra can be seen as a rightful heir to the throne that Dissection left behind. Your opinion please…
Well, Juergens passing was not positive at all, sorry. The sound changed more into a dark feeling with displaced emotions from a positive attitude into a cold enigma. If somebody wants to see a copy of Dissection in Thulcandra, he will see it. If you are more familiar with the whole scene of the early days, you will recognize much more in our sound than just a copycat. Even Dissection are gone finally, they will be the initiators and can't be reached, that is why we see Thulcandra as a tribute.
Now this may sound as a strange and maybe inappropriate question, but in how far do you think Jon's suicide influenced Jürgen to do the same thing? With all due respect!
Jürgen died in early 2005, Jon shot himself in 2006. So I don't think there was any influence at all between them.
What impact did Jürgen's death have on Thulcandra's music?
With Juergens passing we lost one of the main composers. As mentioned earlier, his musical background was different to mine and he brought more melodic riffs into the sound. When he was gone I became the main songwriter and started working on the full lenght album with my personal influences such as Dissection, Unanimated, Sacramentum and Vinterland.
Have you ever wondered what would have become of Thulcandra if things had gone differently at that time and the album was released a few years ago?
Hard to say, probably the band wouldn't exist any more due the lack of interest by the scene about this kind of music we had to go through during the last years. When my other band started to get attention by the death metal scene I had to full concentrate on this project and there was no time for Thulcandra anyway. From that perspective I think nothing would have changed at all, we would be still an underground act working on music we personally enjoy.
Back in the nineties when 'The Somberlain' and 'Storm Of The Light's Bane' where released, this type of black/death metal was more common (although Dissection was always unique). A few years later and into the 21st century, the black metal “hype” was as good as over, the genre went back to the underground where it belongs and most bands concentrate on the more raw, “true” sound. I must however admit, that hearing 'Fallen Angel's Dominion' sounds even a bit refreshing nowadays, because not many bands are playing this style of music anymore! Again, your opinion please…
You are absolutely right. Nowadays there are existing Frozen from Spain and Watain from Sweden besides Necrophobic and Unanimated who are still playing this kind of dark music. At the moment we suffer from the disgusting pagan hype where two chords in a song supports lyrics about vodka and party. Maybe that is more easy to get for most of the metalheads on festivals, but I can't stay this stuff personally. But, as with every hype even this will be gone within the next years as IKEA can not expand into selling rough meat besides fake coats. Don't get me wrong, everybody can play the music they like, but if the image and vodka parties are more important than the music itself I can also watch an Operetta.
How do you look at the current black metal scene?
There are some strong bands around the globe that I really enjoy. Just to mention Triptikon, Goatwhore, Frozen or Watain. On the other hand it is sad that people still think that a bad production is true or more evil than everything else. At the moment we are looking forward for the new Watain album and maybe even Unanimated are working on new material.
Back to Thulcandra then; now that you have finally released the album and the line-up is complete, what can we expect from Thulcandra in the future? A European tour perhaps?
Last week we performed at Germany's Metalfest Open Air alongside Testament, Bolt Thrower and Behemoth and played our first liveshow ever. It is very difficult for us to find the right time for shows as all members of Thulcandra are working heavily on their other bands and tour a lot. What I definitely can say, we will play a very special show at this year's Helion Festival in Munich where we will work out a huge production to make this evening a special event for every visitor. At the moment we got several tour offers, but I am not sure if it is possible to play a whole European or US tour.
Well Steffen, I guess we can wrap it up for this time! Unless of course there is anything left that you'd like to mention…
Thank you very much for your interest in our debut album. Feel free to lend your ears to 'Fallen Angel's Dominion' and support your local bands!