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Trollwar - Oath of the Storm Award winner

Trollwar
Oath of the Storm
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 December 2018, 11:12 AM

Hailing from Alma Québec, TROLLWAR combine the best elements of folk, melodic death and black metal into something vital, potent and uniquely their own. Building on the foundations created by the likes of FINNTROLL and AMON AMARTH they forge fiery folky metal that is unique and complex. Since starting their quest in 2011, they have leveled past their folk roots and have taken a darker, more powerful path becoming more versatile and utilizing more inspiration from bands such as WINTERSUN and Luca Turilli. The symphonic and power metal elements continue to shine amongst the harshness of the folk and black metal with themes pulled from the works of Tolkien and Lovecraft. “Oath of the Storm” is the band’s fifth offering, and contains twelve tracks.

The “Intro” leads us off, with the gentle sounds of a sea craft rocking back and forth in calm seas, but with an ominous backdrop, leading into “Summoning,” with a swift riff and detailed drum work. It does indeed remind me of WINTERSUN, both vocally and instrumentally. The composition is both complex and epic, yet very easy to enjoy. “Into Shadows” is a bit slower and with some Symphonic and Power Metal elements. When the chorus comes in, goosebumps take over, with some IRON MAIDEN influence in the lead guitar notes. The clean vocals are a total surprise, but completely welcome. “The Forsaken One” features a mid-tempo riff with a lot going on in the background. The accordion makes a nice accomplice in this piece as well, as the lead guitar notes carry the melody.

“In Defiance” has a simple message in this battle cry: “Spirits of the forest, may this sacrifice enlighten tomorrow. There was bloodshed, on this fiery night…the Gods were by my side. As the wind blows on the field of glory and the ashes scatters the earth, I will carry the flame. In defiance I will prevail.” “Hymn for the Vanquished” is a darker and more moody song, with a declaration of dying with honor. Though the guitars carry the melody, there is just enough Symphonic elements to keep it fresh. “Forgotten” is a slower number, with the message of “Songs shall be written with your blood. Thy will is unbreakable, you carry the slayer’s oath. The vocals are heavy with emotion here, lest you be forgotten. “Omens of Victory” is a faster and more aggressive song, but still done with a lot of melody. The accordion is always there, holding the parts of the song together but never overpowering the rest of the instruments.

“Home of Forbidden Lore” is a heavier song with plenty of punch in that main riff. Subtle melodies abound as the vocals belt out the message in clean style: “Spirit of the forest, enlighten shades of tomorrow, as the wind blows strong and restless, echoes melody of life.” “Shores of Madness” has a tender and somewhat reflective sound, as you discover a bottomless pit of where souls dwell forever. The melodies hang out there for you to discover, as you ponder your existence. It’s a very poignant song and very well done. “Winter’s Night” is the final track with vocals. It’s a culmination of much of the earlier part of the album, done with stalwart riffing and ominous overtones. The slow grind towards the end really puts a stamp on the sound. “Outro” is the three minute closing instrumental. Cold winds howl and a lone wolf can be heard. Gentle harp notes combine with alluring strings, creating a lush and hopeful sound.

Overall, this was an outstanding album, for a band that clearly has a lot to offer. What I can’t figure out is why no one has signed them yet? The production is excellent. They have a sophistication and complexity in their sound that few others do, yet each track is very easy to listen to. It’s like you combined the best of the old, IRON MAIDEN, with the best of the new, WINTERSUN, and you have TROLLWAR, with their own unique flair. The melodies are both playful and dangerous, and the entire album is excellent from the opener through the closer. “Oath of the Storm” is a fascinating glimpse into the soul of the band, where they let it all out there for you to enjoy. And enjoy it I did!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Summoning
3. Into Shadows
4. The Forsaken One
5. In Defiance
6. Hymn for the Vanquished
7. Forgotten
8. Omens of Victory
9. Home of Forbidden Love
10. Shores of Madness
11. Winter’s Night
12. Outro
Lineup:
Steeve JF – Guitar
Mathieu Chauvette – Guitar
Keven Villeneuve – Bass
Yanick Tremblay – Drum
Simon-Pierre Fortin Leclerc – Vocals
Jonathan Mathieu – Accordion
Record Label: Independent
     


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