Thrawsunblat initially started as a side-project of Wood of Ypres members Joel Violette and later, David Gold. Thrawsunblat became the Joel Violette’s main project since the passing of Gold and the end of Woods. Sadly, until being asked to review this I’d not heard anything by them, something which was rectified very quickly after hearing this.
Metachthonia (Ignifera Records/Broken Limbs) is their latest album and is released on Ignifera records. The title Metachthonia is Greek for “the age after that of the earth” and this concept album addresses that which we are yearning for and has been taken away in the modern world. Describing the style of the new album as ‘folkened black metal’ the anticipation is that Metachthonia shifts from their folk sound to a much blacker sound.
Opening track ‘Fires that Light the Earth’ begins sombrely with cello courtesy of Raphael Weinroth-Browne, before being joined by the guitar and drums which begin a short-lived lament but then branches into blackened blasting drums from Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird) and the bass of Brendan Hayter (Obsidian Tongue) and the tone for the album is set, and it is considerably blacker.
The folk elements and blackened parts juxtapose well, and give a better balance to their sound than before: emphasised by an ebb and flow to the track. The more subdued folk elements provide beauty and the enhanced blackened elements combining with excellent production which gives it an immediacy and a very satisfying sound.
Whilst very much a different band from Woods of Ypres, their enhanced blackened style creates sections where the similarities in tonality and pacing are very difficult to ignore. This can mean that if already familiar with woods it can take a few listens before appreciating Thrawsunblat in their own right. Those few listens however, are truly worth it as this album is incredibly well-crafted and a wonderful listen.
They display a much more palpable sense of optimism and rebirth in their work, which is further emphasised by the organic feel of the folk elements woven throughout. A yearning to what has been lost in the modern era and the desire for its return. The feeling being similar to seeing nature reclaiming abandoned places, that sense that no matter what the natural world can and will survive humans be damned.
Ultimately, Metachthonia is a fantastic album from opener ‘Fires that Light the Earth’ right up until the phenomenal final track ‘In Mist We Walk’, highly recommended!