When a band releases its debut in the year 1999 and then you don’t hear anything from them in seven years, you generally write them off. That also happened to Norwegian THUNDRA, whose debut “Blood Of Your Soul” I had liked quite a bit back then, but then dived off into oblivion due to their long absence. Now all of a sudden I hold their second effort “Worshipped By Chaos” in my hands and I have to say that it definitely was worth the wait!
THUNDRA’s best known member still is former EINHERJER bassist Stein Sund and if upon first listen the name BORKNAGAR shoots through your mind, you are not completely off, because the second album of this quintet can compete with the band around Øystein Brun, also because the stylistic aim is similar. If you’d like to combine THUNDRA’s sound in a nutshell, one could say: Cold, Nordic majesty meets warm melodies.
Who might look a little confused now, just listen to opener “On Thorns” and it all should clear things up, beginning with blast beats and tons of melody they invite the listener on a true roller coaster ride between ferocity and epicism, harsh Black/Death vocals and heroic clear voices, rounded off with lots of melodies without sounding cheesy, what an opener! And after that the Norwegians don’t let off, but continue to stride from highlight to highlight, with the incredible clear vocals by Steven Grindhaug on “Hatred Declared” combined with great melodies, the intense “Silent Voice”, “At Autumn’s Fall”, with a choir an great acoustic solo or the symphonic “Symphony Of Anguish”, I could write half a novel about this album, but that would go a bit too far.
To conclude, THUNDRA have created one of the most variable and best albums of melodic Black Metal of the past few years, where melodies and different vocal styles (those clear vocals are just mindblowing) are just as prominent as flow and dynamics, packed into a clear and powerful production, which gives all details the necessary room.
“Worshipped By Chaos” is heavily recommended to all, who like it heavy, but epic and variable, I hope that the problems of Black Lotus Records will not hinder this endeavour too much and just as much hope that the guys won’t take another seven years before releasing their next album. (Online August 2, 2006)