Hail The Abyss

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. In The Eye Of Heaven
02. Hail The Abyss
03. At Night
04. Velvet Damnation
05. On The Wings Of Cosmic Fire
06. Acheronian Cult
07. As I Walk Through The Gateway
08. Blood Of Slaves
09. In Darkness We Descend
10. The Final Closure

Living proof that a slow evolution can lead to great things, THULCANDRA have been steadily gathering momentum for over a decade now. It was obvious from their debut album — 2010's "Fallen Angel's Dominion" — that the Germans had their own, unique approach to an otherwise traditional strain of blackened death metal. Over the course of three further albums, THULCANDRA have grown as songwriters, and 2021's "A Dying Wish" was rightly acclaimed as their most powerful statement to date. If "Hail The Abyss" is simply more of the same, you won't find many people complaining.

The biggest difference between this record and its predecessor is that "Hail The Abyss" feels more firmly rooted in black metal's sonic values, and more windswept and wild as a result. The opening "In The Eye Of Heaven" may be the finest song THULCANDRA have penned to date. An epic squall of melodic grimness, it highlights the subtle power of producer Dan Swano's mix: everything is crystal clear, and yet equally venomous and abrasive to the last drop. The title track hammers the point home, as frontman Steffen Kummerer (also OBSCURA) rasps and shrieks over a propulsive but woozily atmospheric backdrop, with gothic tones and merciless blastbeats in nefarious harmony. That balance between otherworldly obscurity and bone-crunching, straight-ahead metal informs every minute of this album, but most notably on its lengthier tracks. "Acheronian Cult" is a blazing, mid-paced rampage that seamlessly switches gears midway through, as THULCANDRA's sound becomes ever grander and more cinematic. Similarly, "Blood Of Slaves" begins with a vast, star-bound and tear-stained melody, before erupting into old-school death metal savagery of the highest order.

Kummerer's crew seldom do anything that would disrupt the blackened status quo, but everything they do seems designed to add color and depth to black metal's monochrome scree. Closing epic "The Final Closure" goes furthest of all. An eight-minute blackened doom ritual with eerie echoes of MERCYFUL FATE and MY DYING BRIDE, it's THULCANDRA at their heaviest and most dramatic, and provides their fifth and best album with a fitting, soul-wrenching conclusion.

Other bands may make more fuss and create more controversy, but when it comes to writing deep and evocative black metal tunes, and performing them with total conviction, THULCANDRA are one of the smartest and classiest acts around.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).