Thulcandra on Their Diverse New Record Hail the Abyss
German powerhouse Thulcandra are back with a new album, Hail the Abyss, out now via Napalm Records. It carries on their tradition of heavy and melodic metal with some well-placed prog and technical elements.
Formed in 2003 by guitarist Steffen Kummerer, also of Obscura fame, and Jürgen Zintz, the band’s name is inspired by the planet Earth in C. S. Lewis’s 1938 science fiction novel Out of the Silent Planet. Since their inception, Thulcandra have released four albums: The Cold White Light (2007), A Distant Call (2010), The Fall of Hearts (2013), and A Dying Wish (2021).
Their new record picks up where A Dying Wish left off, but also takes things a step further with cleaner production and even more dynamic structures. We caught up with Kummerer to talk more about the new album and the band’s upcoming touring plans.
Can you talk a little bit about Hail the Abyss? How did it all come together, and how does it differ from previous albums?
We are not only celebrating the fifth record, but also have our 20-year anniversary this year That’s a nice coincidence, so we are promoting both. The records came quite soon after the previous album, A Dying Wish. Touring has been quite a hassle over here since the pandemic, so we decided to just focus on writing a new record instead of trying to force touring.
When it comes to the writing and recording of the album, is there anything that sets it apart from previous stuff?
This was the same framework we used on the previous album. We went to the same studio in Munich to record drums, and we worked with the same team we did for the 2021 album. So, from my perspective, everything went very smoothly and we didn’t face any issues or problems. All the production was super easy overall. And our collaboration with Dan Warner, he has a certain reputation and has worked with bands like Bloodbath and Katatonia. We always love working with him.
What are some of the big lyrical themes or concepts that stand out on this record?
The whole album is not billed as conceptual record, to be honest, because simply it didn’t feel like that. We’ve done concept albums in the past, but this time, we rather had the idea to match the music, so the words are all written with that in mind. We have the whole palette of slow, very, very slow songs almost in the direction of doom metal up to high-speed songs, mid-tempo, heavy metal, everything, and based on that, all the lyrics have different different themes, different topics, so it all fits, but this is not a conceptual record at all.
So you kind of explore a bunch of different things instead of trying to focus on one consistent theme.
Yeah, it’s entirely based on the music. So first, all the music has been written, everything has been pre-produced, and then I start writing writing lyrics to it, and if the song is a rather sensitive or melancholic piece, the lyrics have to fit in. If it’s a very brutal, sharp, aggressive composition, you also need to fit some lyrics that fit that theme.
I saw you are doing some touring this month and this summer, and I know you said that’s been hard since COVID. How excited are you to get back on the road?
Well, the first show representing the new record will be our hometown show. So on the day of the release, the 19th of May, we have a release show, and we will play the record front to back. We are booked at a rather small venue; it’s like 250 people capacity in there, and it will be filled to the max.
It’s amazing to me how much people re interested; it’s really something special. This is one of those shows where my friends and family and everyone will show up, and we’ll just celebrate music. The show itself will be a special celebration, and we can’t wait. It’ll be a big party, and we look forward to that. After that, we have nine festival shows booked all throughout Germany, but we’re still negotiating with a couple of other festivals to see if we can do a few more shows this year.
Is there anything else you all would like to add about the album or tour cycle?
We’re working on a headlining tour in North America for early 2024, and that will be excellent. We would like to send our gratitude to everyone who attended the recent tour with Fleshgod Apocalypse and Obscura because this was one of the nicest experiences we had as a band and 20 years. The whole response we got from North America was unexpected, to be honest, because we never played there. We didn’t know how everything would turn out. But this was a very big surprise, and we would come back in a heartbeat if it’s possible. So we are working on that for the new future.