Rating:
9.5
Thrawsunblat - Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings
13 March 2013


01. Lifelore Revelation
02. Once Fireveined
03. We, The Torchbearers
04. Goose River (Mourners' March)
05. Bones In The Undertow
06. Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings
07. Maritime Shores
08. View Of A Million Trees
09. Borea (Pyre Of A Thousand Pine)
10. Elegy Across The Silence
11. Song Of The Nihilist
12. I Am The Viator


Thrawsunblat is the incredible new blackened folk metal band formed by Joel Violette in 2009 while he was playing with Woods Of Ypres. Now, Woods is no more, but Joel is still making excellent music, this time alongside Americans Rae Amitay on drums, and Brendan Hayter on bass. And the trio has come up with something quite exhilarating.

Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings wastes no time in letting you know immediately what kind of album this is. The first few seconds of the opening track are a bouncy, folksy piano - but then the black metal comes crashing through. This moment, where melodic folk and black metal collide, sets the stage for the musical variety present on this disc. Some tunes are more folk inspired metal with rhythms and moods reminiscent of the best Viking metal bands (yet with their own atmosphere that sets them apart); other tunes focus more on the dark, blackened side of the music.

"Goose River (Mourners' March)" and "Maritime Shores" are the two ballads and they may be two of the most enjoyable ballads you'll ever find on a folk album. They don't depart from the style, yet they're devoid of cheese. A feat indeed! Driven by the acoustic guitar and carried by the rich, velvety voice of Joel Violette (switching with ease between clean and extreme vocals), one or both of these songs will be stuck in your head after listening.

As far as the non-ballads go, there is an exact amount of variety in tempo and mood, swaying this way and that on the black and folk metal spectrums. Variety, within a driving cohesiveness, is what will mesmerize most listeners.

So, what is the Continent Of Saplings? Turns out, it's North America. And that's damn poetic. We're here on this piece of Earth, an amalgam of cultures, some native and some imported (both voluntarily and forcibly), sometimes trying to regrow individual cultures from their respective saplings, and sometimes trying to grow a unified culture from our young collective roots. Like a strong tree growing from a fragile but dedicated sapling, we don't know which roots will grow the deepest, which branches will stretch the furthest, or which piece of the new trunk will rise to become the top. And that's perfectly shown in this music. Many different branches stretch from their strong trunk of blackened yet melodic metal. Which is the dominant style? That's anyone's guess.

Thrawsunblat are part of a new movement in folk metal. Along with bands like Wilderun they're carving out a place for North American folk metal. There are already so many amazing bands singing about Vikings and keeping the Norse sagas alive, so why not delve into the trove of North American folk tales that have yet to be told in metal? The "epic" of Viking metal is certainly present in this music, but the lyrics tread a new path and tell a new story.

I'll go ahead and say it: this album WILL be found on many a "Best Of 2013" list come year end. At the very least, it'll be on mine.

Hear for yourself at Bandcamp.


Band profile: Thrawsunblat
Album: Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings


 



Written on 10.04.2013 by
Susan
Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Susan ››



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JayAlanGoodwin - 10.04.2013 at 06:21  
This is a great album.

Good review
psykometal - 10.04.2013 at 08:15  
Great review Susan! Agree 100%!
Super_Greg - 10.04.2013 at 10:57  
Great review and great album! This album saved folk metal for me! I will have to check out Wilderun
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.04.2013 at 12:38  
A good album but nowhere near the classic 9.5 status you awarded it
Gets and 8 from me.
Susan - 10.04.2013 at 16:59  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.04.2013 at 12:38

A good album but nowhere near the classic 9.5 status you awarded it
Gets and 8 from me.


An 8 from you? That's awesome! I had no idea how you'd react to this blend of styles. I guess there are some types of folk metal that are good enough to reach you hard-hearted doomsters
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.04.2013 at 17:07  
Written by Susan on 10.04.2013 at 16:59

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.04.2013 at 12:38

A good album but nowhere near the classic 9.5 status you awarded it
Gets and 8 from me.


An 8 from you? That's awesome! I had no idea how you'd react to this blend of styles. I guess there are some types of folk metal that are good enough to reach you hard-hearted doomsters


there is also folk doom, just in case you didn't know Think of Mael Mordha and Faith and Northwinds and Flight Of The Sleipnir on those cases
Susan - 10.04.2013 at 17:35  
Ah yes. I can see the connection/bridge in tastes between this and those bands.
Grimskallen - 10.04.2013 at 20:42  
Thrawsunblat's members Rae and Brendan never played with WoY even though they were recruited straight before the very end of the band.
I don't really hear the resemblance to WoY all that much in this music, and I don't mean that as the reason why I do not like this album.... there are other reasons why I don't like this album.
Susan - 10.04.2013 at 20:44  
Written by Grimskallen on 10.04.2013 at 20:42

Thrawsunblat's members Rae and Brendan never played with WoY even though they were recruited straight before the very end of the band.


Where does it say that they did?
Rodney - 10.04.2013 at 21:27  
Found this album on Bandcamp a few days after it came out and loved it. Really glad to see it getting attention with both the review and staff pick, I was hoping it wouldn't go overlooked. And good review by the way, it does the album justice.
psykometal - 10.04.2013 at 21:31  
Written by Susan on 10.04.2013 at 20:44

Where does it say that they did?

I think he is referring to my Staff Pick cuz I said "the surviving members of WoY".

@Grimskallen That is my ignorance, I never got into WoY so I was unaware those 2 were hired just before David's death.
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.04.2013 at 21:35  
Written by psykometal on 10.04.2013 at 21:31

I never got into WoY...


you're not missing out on anything [/obligatory anti-WoY remark]
Grimskallen - 10.04.2013 at 21:36  
Written by Susan on 10.04.2013 at 20:44

Written by Grimskallen on 10.04.2013 at 20:42

Thrawsunblat's members Rae and Brendan never played with WoY even though they were recruited straight before the very end of the band.


Where does it say that they did?

Oh I was aiming for the staff pick my psykometal. I never meant to come off as a douche, so I'm sorry if I did.
psykometal - 10.04.2013 at 21:50  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.04.2013 at 21:35

you're not missing out on anything [/obligatory anti-WoY remark]

Yea, I didn't think I was. I do happen to really like the song "I Was Buried In Mt. Pleasant Cemetary" but the other songs I have listened to didn't particular entertain me.
schizodelight - 10.04.2013 at 22:36  
Great review, really awesome album.
Apothecary - 10.04.2013 at 23:22  
As I said when I gave this review to you, from what I listened to of this album, it didn't strike me as anything overly incredible. It really comes across much more so as black metal with a few more epic, melodic moments than as an actual blackened folk album. Personally I wish Thrawsunblat had gone a little farther with some more traditional folk instruments and/or ambient sounds, but maybe that just wasn't what they were going for. Either way though, it is a pretty solid effort for a debut, and I totally agree with you that the North American folk scene is slowly but surely coming along (Marcel mentioned *The Flight Of Sleipnir, I'd highly recommend giving them a peek if you haven't already).
Susan - 10.04.2013 at 23:33  
Written by Apothecary on 10.04.2013 at 23:22

Either way though, it is a pretty solid effort for a debut, and I totally agree with you that the North American folk scene is slowly but surely coming along (Marcel mentioned *The Flight Of Sleipnir, I'd highly recommend giving them a peek if you haven't already).


I have heard them! Excellent stuff. I discovered them on a 3-way split they did in 2011 (or 2010?). Your review of their full-length definitely made me check that out, too!

But they're not really "North American Folk Metal" in the sense that Thrawsunblat and Wilderun and other bands are. Flight of Sleipnir might be FROM North America, as many folk metal bands are, but they don't sing about N. American folk tales and our history; they sing about Norse mythology.
Demonic Tutor - 11.04.2013 at 04:48  
Sounds very interesting indeed. Right up my alley.
blackmamba - 11.04.2013 at 21:18  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.04.2013 at 12:38

A good album but nowhere near the classic 9.5 status you awarded it
Gets and 8 from me.


An 8 is fair. I agree. 9.5 is waaaaay too high.
Metal_Buff - 12.04.2013 at 06:11  
After a few spins I'm really digging this, as a Canadian I can't help but love the Maritime vibe, it's pretty unique in the world of Metal. Time will tell, but the standout tracks here are certainly classic-worthy stuff, we'll see if the rest grows on me... But as far as Folk Metal goes, this is heartfelt, exciting and completely without cheese, a rare find indeed!
Enemy of Reality - 16.04.2013 at 15:19  
It's ok. Not that good.
.Nick - 20.04.2013 at 12:00  
At times this made me think of Forefather.
Maxx666 - 25.04.2013 at 18:38  
Its good to see that Woods legacy is still thriving... If album does feels similar to Woods then I should definitely check it out.. Nice review btw
LeChron James - 07.05.2013 at 08:51  
This album is great, I definitely didn't give it enough of a chance the first few times I listened to it. I'd be down to see them live if their sound is as good as it sounds here.
neonxaos - 10.12.2013 at 12:19  
Finally a reviewer who has recognized this as part of an emerging Canadian/North American style. Insightful review, and I agree wholeheartedly. I used to listen a lot to Woods of Ypres, lamenting the fact that there was not much else like it out there. There is now. And this is a spectacular example. I think that this album will become a true classic in time.

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