Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Monday 1 November 2021

Reviews: Thulcandra, Burning The Oppressor, Inner Core, Tao (Matt Bladen & Paul Hutchings)

Thulcandra - A Dying Wish (Napalm Records) [Matt Bladen]

A Dying Wish is the fourth album from black/death metal act Thulcandra, it’s their first release in six years, bandleader Steffen Kummerer yet again writing a record that stands out as being different to his other band Obscura. Whereas they rely on intricate, technical brutality, Thulcandra are more about atmosphere and grinding groove, skilfully treading the left hand path of Entombed and Dissection. Produced/mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö, A Dying Wish sounds like those early black/death pioneers, the riffs are played through a biting HM-2, with tremolo picking as often as possible, while the drumming is blistering. 

It’s evocative of frozen tundra’s and desolate forests, purposely trying to create chilling atmosphere, from the album cover to the dissonant music enclosed within. What is obvious is the harshness of this record, the pained screams that are used as vocals are blended into the chainsaw riffs, so it’s difficult to pick any one thing out on first listen, other than just aggression. But as you make numerous trips to the album tracks such as Nocturnal Heresy bring some Swede-death grunt. The band however retain the technicality Kummerer is often associated with, the nasty distortion giving way to acoustic laments and doom passages for a more rounded offering than just straight DM or BM. 

The Silver Silvering is a case in point of this, a rampaging, black metal guitar work out that is followed by the haunting interlude In Bleak Misery before the blasting returns on A Shining Abyss. If you just heard the first two tracks of this record you would probably think this yet another black/death band, however as the record progresses you realise this is a homage to that Swedeath sound but with modern death virtuosity. If you’re a fan of the bands mentioned earlier you’ll love this slice of black/death. 7/10

Burning The Oppressor - Damnation (Candlelight) [Paul Hutchings]

Founded in 2012, Canadian death metal quintet Burning The Oppressor’s first release for Candlelight Records but their fourth full release. It’s an aggressive, fiery beast of an album with the vocals of Kevin Bordello savage and angry. This is how I imagine a riled-up porcupine to sound like; prickly and with a lot of concealed anger! At nearly an hour long, it proves to be a challenging listen with the style and delivery, whilst intense and crushing, at times repetitive. The heavy groove of the band’s explosive death metal is punishing in the extreme, and it’s clear on a first listen that these guys are no slouches. 

Whether their style of brutal assault is enough to separate them from the hundreds of worldwide metal bands that bring a similar style is debatable, but should you like your death metal with an under current of groove and a modern feel, then Damnation should work well. Produced by Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy, Shadow Of Intent, Ingested, Despised Icon, Beneath The Massacre, Beyond Creation), this is an album that, as the band themselves say, “Is an album with heavy social criticism where the dark side of the human experience coexists with mental illness and degradation, we are confident that we will be able to make the metalheads headbang to the sound of our music."7/10

Inner Core - Dark Chronicles (Metalapolis Records) [Paul Hutchings]

Following up their 2018 debut Soultaker, German symphonic metal outfit Inner Core bring their sophomore release Dark Chronicles, a weighty 71 minutes of anthemic and dramatic crafted work. New drummer Hendrik Edelthalhammer debuts on the record, whilst the vocals of singer Anna Roog take centre stage. 

It’s an album that soars, twists, and develops with some lengthy songs that sit alongside shorter ones with ease. Desert Snake at eight minutes in length, could quite easily sit within the soundtrack of an Eastern themed film, such is the oriental feel. In fact, the band focus almost exclusively on their big sound throughout. From the intense opening track, the impressive and spectacular Kingdom Of Mirrors which launches Dark Chronicles, through the short bridge of the title track and the epic Lionheart, Inner Core appear able to transport the listener to an uplifting and impressive soundscape that seriously makes other symphonic records sound like The Smurfs. 

At times over the top, at other times more understated and less heroic, Dark Chronicles should interest those who enjoy the excessive elements of symphonic metal. There is plenty to indulge in here, including a few longer songs that see the band extend and stretch themselves quite magnificently. 8/10

Tao - Prophecy (Tarot Label Media) [Matt Bladen]

Featuring an ex-member of Serpentine and produced by Gary Hughes (Ten), I assumed Tao would be a full of dramatic melodic rock and I was pretty much spot on. All of the songs were written by Hughes, but the band are made up of singer Karen Fell, guitarist Chris Gould and bass player Dave Rosingana. The additional members of the band are made up of TEN keyboardist Darrel Treece‐Birch, drummer Brian Webster along with Hughes himself on keys and backing vocals. You will feel as if this album had been forgotten in the 80's as it comes from the radio bothering melodic rocking of bands such as Heart, Roxette or Pat Benatar. It's extremely pop focussed melodic rock, in places feeling like a West End 'rock' musical, if it was 1984, the talkbox guitars on Nobody But You, the Disney feeling Angels And Clandestines and the bouncy Americanisms of Fire In The Sky, would be all the rage, however in 2021 it does sound a little out of time. It's a bit too light and breezy for me I'm afraid. 4/10 

No comments:

Post a Comment