Posts Tagged ‘Folk Metal

Deep Dark River

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There have been heavy rains in Mumbai in the past couple of weeks. A album that I found myself listening during this time was King of the Forest, the latest release from Canadian act Deep Dark River. The gloomy weather further enhanced the album’s dark sound.

Deep Dark River was started by Morgan Rider (Vesperia, Crimson Shadows). He released a self titled album last year was soon after joined by Nathen Morrison on cello.

I spoke to Morgan Rider about the inspiration behind the band, King of the Forest and also performing live.

You have been performing with metal bands (Vesperia, Crimson Shadows) for some time now. What inspired you to start Deep Dark River?

Yes! Actually, I have been playing, writing, recording and touring with metal bands for over two thirds of my life. I have always loved music in every form, not ever cordoning myself into any particular ways of approaching a genre, or being too hyper critical of other styles. Music is art, afterall.

I really began going down this path when I started assembling my own recording studio close to a decade ago. I always wrote and recorded songs that simply didnt belong within the catalogue of my existing bands and after a while I had amassed a small library of unused material that I felt really strongly about.

It was in 2017 that I discovered I was to become a father the next year. I dont know why, but something clicked in me then. I immediately penned down the title ‘Deep Dark River’ on the front of a blank notebook and started writing songs without trying too hard. Within those 9 months, I had filled much of the notebook with songs and had constructed the idea of the project along with its future over the next five years.

You are now joined by Nathen Morrison on cello. How did he become of the band?

Nathen and I have been friends for a long while. He and I had shared the stage plenty of times with our previous bands, and had recruited members of eachothers’ bands to play in our bands. In 2017, I had this idea of getting a violin player on board with Deep Dark River, but found it next to impossible to find somebody talented at the instrument with available time to work on this with me.

Nathen – it turns out – had been learning the cello for the last 6-8 years and was quite formidable on the instrument already. I spoke with him a couple of times and he was eager to get involved in a project like this.

King of the Forest is a dark album. Do tell us a bit more about it.

So right out of the gate, King of the Forest is an album of lament and loss. I am a huge supporter of minimalism, helping people understand their ecological footprint and understanding how our actions are shaping the world around us. I have always been impacted heavily by what we as a species of earth are doing to our home and everything in it without much care or focus on how it will turn out for us. King of the Forest talks a little about this.

Its about a woodland guardian, a godlike figure in the element of his domain – the ancient arboreal realms of earth. He is drawn to the highest mountain of his forest and witnesses a meteor impact within his lands, which destroys and clears much of the thick forest. Much time passes and things begin to blossom anew, when the forest is finally encroached on by the humans, who come with their steel machines and poisonous air. He fights for his lands and kin, but is eventually slain by the humans who do not know what he is or what he represents.

I know as an individual, I cannot and should not dictate what other people can or should think or do. I think its important that a clean and healthy earth should be one of the most important topics people should be talking about and acting toward. Afterall, no matter what other immensely difficult topics their are to talk about today – religion, humanitarianism, the global economy – none of it matters if the world it takes place on is destroyed by us.

How different was the writing process for King of the Forest?

King of the Forest was unique for me as far as writing goes. Usually I will be couped up at home, or in my studio working on the songs for an album. But for this one, I wrote all of it on the road on my last tour. I spent over a month beside the great lakes, next to camp fires, in and on top of mountains in the Rockies, hiking, etc and really enjoying the natural beauty of Canada. I also was able to shape the new songs’ dynamics in a live setting during all the shows I did from coast to coast.

The album is the first part in a four album quadrilogy that the duo plan to release over the next 2 years. What can you tell us about the other releases?

The other three albums will be a similar format to King of the Forest. Meaning, each will be seven songs long and will feature a particular legendary animal native to Canada and the domain they call home. The next one will be about an ocean guardian in the form of a monstrous whale and we plan to release it in December.

One thing that will make each album unique is that each will have a different instrumentation. While my voice along with Nathen’s cello will be the main elements across all of the releases, the next one will feature live drums and overdriven guitars.

So far, all of the drums, guitars and pianos are done for the next one. This will give us lots of time to make cool videos and release neat artwork to accompany it.

What are you currently listening to?

At this moment I am listening to ‘Everything is Fine’ by Amigo the Devil.

King of the Forest has been release on your label North Soul Records. Do you plan on signing on other artists/bands to the label?

Actually, I hadnt considered it. Maybe one day down the road! For now, North Soul will be an avenue for me to release all of my own music.

You have been performing live quite extensively. How does the experience difference as a duo compared to a 4 piece metal band?

I have! As of this month, I have played over 170 gigs since the beginning of 2018. One thing that I am enjoying quite a bit about playing solo or as a duo is that there is far, far less equipment to haul around. On my last tour, instead of having to have a van and trailer with amps, etc, I had everything I needed plus camping equipment and luggage all packed into my little car. I even brought my little family, which was a tour first!

Do you have any upcoming shows or tour planned?

There isnt any touring plans in place right now. I have been mostly grinding away in the markets within a several hour drive – slowly building a home fanbase. I might do another solo tour next year, but that is just an idea at this point.

Otherwise, I am all over Ontario throughout the summer solo and as a duo with Nathen. Those dates can be checked at

Thanks for your time. Do you have any final words?

Thank you for the interview and for your support! It is cool to see what this little project is becoming and I am so excited for all of the music we plan to release over the next two years. Cheers!

Written by trendcrusher

July 9, 2019 at 10:45 pm

Interview with Thrawsunblat

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Thrawsunblat are folk/black metal band from Canada. They released their 2nd album, Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings last month. Find out more about the album, its recording process and also plans for their 3rd album in my interview with vocalist/guitarist Joel Violette


Hi Joel, congrats on the release of your new album. How does it feel now that the album has been released?

Thank you, Peter! It feels very, very good. It’s been a long haul, and it’s just so satisfying to have the finished product. It’s a thing where you just want it to be done, immediately, and give everyone the album! But there are so many intermediary steps and so many people working on the project that it just takes time. I want to thank all the people involved for their hard work and dedication, and the fans for their patience and understanding.

Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings is a concept album. Can you tell us about it?

Sure. It draws greatly from Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology, his concept of the “Hero’s Journey” or “monomyth”, the storyline the he found to underlie most of the world’s myths. Myths, and even today’s books and movies, all have a common set of archetypes and major plot points that we, as humans, universally connect with. It’s a sort of subconscious set of entities, from which all myth and otherwise satistfying stories draw. Wanderer… also draws from Campbell’s concept that we all, individually, can view our lives as some form of monomyth or another. So the album is the journey of a Wanderer, a character symbolic of most anyone in North America today, and this Wanderer’s challenges dealing with our modern versions of age-old problems, including finding purpose, substance, meaning, and in dealing with death. Every culture in every era has had these problems, and each has had their own unique set of solutions for them. This album explores all of that stuff.

T1How different is the album compared to Thrawsunblat I: Canada 2010?

The first album was really a collection of demos, all written independently, and with independent thematic scopes, yet all within the same musical “environment within which” the listener experiences them. They were songs I’d written between 2004 (the first song I ever wrote was a (terribly rough) version of Misted Shores) and 2009.
For the second album, there was time to plan, so all the songs are really part of an overarching concept. Every song has its place, and every word in the lyrics really has a purpose, even in conjunction with other songs.
There’s a bit of a difference, instrumentally as well. Thrawsunblat II has a lot more clean singing, has fiddles, has tin whistle, and even some backup vocals from Rae. The production is also fantastic, with Siegfried Meier at the helm. I think it’s a perfect blend of polish, yet with certain rawness to it.

What was the songwriting and recording process like with Rae Amitay and Brendan Hayter based in Boston, USA and you based in Fredericton, Canada?

It was great. Brendan and Rae are fantastic musicians and equally fantastic people, so to work with them is great. The way it worked was this: I would write a demo, send it to Rae and Brendan, each of them would record a video of themselves playing their part, and I would watch that video and usually say “Done! That part is it.” and that would be the end of it!

The recording worked a bit differently. Rae recorded her drum parts in Boston, sent the files to Siegfried Meier at Beach Road Studios in Goderich, Ontario, who mixed them. As the base of the song, the drums really have to go first, so once they were done, I recorded rhythm guitars in New Brunswick, and sent those mixes to Brendan, who recorded the bass. Once Siegfried put these together as rough mixes I was able to add the solos, leads, keys, tin whistles, and vocals, as well as record Jeff Mott’s fiddles. Then it all got shipped back to Sig who worked his magic.

The album was produced by Siegfried Meier in the Beach Road Studios. How was it working with Siegfried again?

It was fantastic. I feel very lucky to have been able to work with him not only once, but twice! Sig is very, very talented, and really fun to work with. He also has a knack for adding cool, edgy, and tasteful little bits to songs that really improve a track. Anything you hear on the album that’s cool, effects-wise, that was Sig. He also helped a huge amount when I was recording my parts, even though he was in Ontario and I was in New Brunswick. He always had a tip for mic placement, or technical stuff, or whatever. If I had a question, Sig had an answer.

T2 Thrawsunblat II was funded through Thrawsunfundraising. Were you surprised by the response that you received?

We really were surprised, and terribly humbled. The amount of support was unreal. We 100% could not have done this album without the support of these generous people. What I’m deeply pleased about is that these supporters seem to really love the album, which is so very important. We created a lot of hype and expectation with the fundraiser, and above all we wanted the donors to feel like they’ve made a good investment. Granted, they got lots of unique swag as fundraiser incentives, but it’s also important that they like the album! I got an email from our biggest donor the other day saying he’d had very high expectations of the album and that the album had somehow surpassed them. That really makes it worth it.

What are your plans for 2013? Any tours planned?

I’m afraid not, yet! Plans for 2013 are to promote the album and perhaps search for a label for T3. And then writing of T3. There are two albums I’ve got brewing. It’s just a matter of figuring out which one to do first. One is an all acoustic album–yet still Thrawsunblat through and through– with fiddles, drums, tin whistles, and more vocals from Rae. The second is another folk/black metal album, similar to Canada 2010, yet where Canada 2010 was green, for trees, this album will be red, for fire.

Any final words?

Thank you for the great questions, Peter! I really enjoyed this! Cheers!

Listen/Download Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings here.