Thrawsunblat - Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings review




Bandcamp music player
Reviewer:
9.5

133 users:
8.25
Band: Thrawsunblat
Album: Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings
Release date: 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.


 



Written on 10.04.2013 by Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of sub-genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.

Twitter: @HeavyMetalSusan


Comments

Comments: 27   Visited by: 420 users
10.04.2013 - 06:21
This is a great album.

Good review
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10.04.2013 - 08:15
psykometal
A staff guy...
Great review Susan! Agree 100%!
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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10.04.2013 - 10:57
Greg L.
Great review and great album! This album saved folk metal for me! I will have to check out Wilderun
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10.04.2013 - 12:38
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
A good album but nowhere near the classic 9.5 status you awarded it
Gets and 8 from me.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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10.04.2013 - 16:59
Susan
Smeghead
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
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"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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10.04.2013 - 17:07
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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10.04.2013 - 17:35
Susan
Smeghead
Ah yes. I can see the connection/bridge in tastes between this and those bands.
----
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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10.04.2013 - 20:42
Skøllgrim
Northern
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.
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"Popbutikk med platt lyrikk
Skit vil ingen hava"
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10.04.2013 - 20:44
Susan
Smeghead
Written by Skøllgrim 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?
----
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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10.04.2013 - 21:27
Saiyanity
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.
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10.04.2013 - 21:31
psykometal
A staff guy...
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.
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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10.04.2013 - 21:35
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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]
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

Loading...
10.04.2013 - 21:36
Skøllgrim
Northern
Written by Susan on 10.04.2013 at 20:44

Written by Skøllgrim 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.
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"Popbutikk med platt lyrikk
Skit vil ingen hava"
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10.04.2013 - 21:50
psykometal
A staff guy...
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.
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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10.04.2013 - 22:36
schizodelight
Great review, really awesome album.
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Prepare for unforeseen consequences.
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10.04.2013 - 23:22
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
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).
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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10.04.2013 - 23:33
Susan
Smeghead
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.
----
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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11.04.2013 - 04:48
Demonic Tutor
The Enemy Within
Sounds very interesting indeed. Right up my alley.
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11.04.2013 - 21:18
blackmamba
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.
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12.04.2013 - 06:11
Metal_Buff
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!
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16.04.2013 - 15:19
Enemy of Reality
It's ok. Not that good.
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20.04.2013 - 12:00
.Nick
At times this made me think of Forefather.
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25.04.2013 - 18:38
Maxx666
Meshuggahian
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
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07.05.2013 - 08:51
LeChron James
Helvetesfossen
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.
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Kick Ass, Die Young

Less is More
Stay Pure
Stay Poor

Music was my life, music brought me to life and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz in my head that only I can hear.
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10.12.2013 - 12:19
neonxaos
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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09.03.2015 - 07:06
moe5512
When 90% of Folk Metal nowadays is pure flute and fiddle uninspired apeshit, it's nice to listen to some quality metal
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09.03.2015 - 11:23
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Written by moe5512 on 09.03.2015 at 07:06

When 90% of Folk Metal nowadays is pure flute and fiddle uninspired apeshit, it's nice to listen to some quality metal


Exactly.

This is fantastic debut. Not 10 straight material but certrainly 9 shot it is. Still got have to work on more records to make into 10/10 material or gain more fans.

I heard they're working on new material and probably releasing in 2016. Not confirming it officially but just got a bites from somewhere.
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