Now if you’re Italian, and you play what is described as ‘extreme fantasy metal’, I think you have a bit of a problem. A vast, Rhapsody shaped problem. Those Italian maestros and their various incarnations have almost perfected what it is to be huge and fantastical in modern metal. What Thulnar face here is attempting to recreate some of that magic within their own particular set of songs, and their debut EP, ‘Nightfall in Theros’, tries to do that.
Overall, Thulnar succeed with ‘Nightfall in Theros’. Embracing more of a pagan metal/symphonic black metal style, they manage to create grand song structures that are full of great leadwork, orchestral flourishes and grandiose male/female vocal duels without coming across as overly ridiculous or over the top. The guitar melodies on opener ‘Wise Men of Hope’ are pretty cool, and the more symphonic moments do bring to mind Rhapsody but not as much as they might have.
The swelling title track lays on the symphony rather thick at the start, and it evolves into a mid paced, dramatic piece with the harsh vocals leading into epic closer ‘City of Golden Halls’, which has more of a gothic feel to it. The female vocals don’t work as well for me on this one, but I like the commitment to the style. While coming close to being slightly too much of a clone, Thulnar’s debut is short enough that you don’t get that grating feeling that sometimes comes with this sort of metal. The orchestral flourishes are well done, the underlying harshness shines through despite the histrionics, and the songwriting is solid. A little more extremity and a little less fantasy, and Thulnar could be pretty good!