The Elk


THRÄNENKIND  ("Child of Tears") - a vegan, straight edge post metal group that focuses on […]
By Joellen "FreshMetalGal" Patterson
August 12, 2013
Thranenkind - The Elk album cover

THRÄNENKIND  ("Child of Tears") - a vegan, straight edge post metal group that focuses on humanity, nature, the green movement and freedom?  Upon reading that description, my curiosity was certainly piqued. After six years in being, this Munich band has produced their first full-length album, under the guidance of Lifeforce Records. This album has a story - "...two siblings, who are on a roadtrip to their father's funeral. They are faced with meeting old friends and memories, tragedy, hope, death and a mysterious "stranger" (Facebook). Album is self-described as containing crust, hardcore punk and post rock (in five instrumental tracks).

A happy place will not be found in this album. At best, there are hauntingly beautiful moments and a few astral projections. Melancholy is what you'll get, dear reader, and there's nothing wrong with that. There is an encounter of the harsh vocal style in several tracks, but it is brief. It can be rather startling, at times. In tracks such as "Just Another Way of Expressing Defeat", which is entirely instrumental, you will hear an excellent guitar duet, joined by ambient vocals and a marching drumbeat. Its smooth repeated riff sequence is contagious. There is almost Folkish in sound, especially with a guitar tremolo reminiscent of Russian folk music.

"The Kind Is Dead" includes a prominent bass and kick-drum entrance. The vocals achieve the hardcore touch that is characteristic of black metal. As part of the storyline, the title is a curiosity. Is "kind" being translated as it's English meaning or is it the German "kind," meaning "child?" If the child is dead, as opposed to the nice person/people being dead, that creates an entirely different picture.

"My Transparent Heart" begins with guitars and kick-drum entrance. More harsh vocals are introduced, but are again short-lived. It would have helped to have a copy of the lyrics or an advanced libretto copy before me to get a sense of what was going on. A strong tremolo re-emerges in the background.

"Today the Sea (Anja's Song)" begins with waves lazily lapping at the shore. The acoustics are quietly undulating along with ambient vocals. A spoken poem echoes in the background. This is a song about reminiscence. The harsh vocals were an upheaval to the mood initially created. As to, "Silence Is Everything", oh, that the silence would have been in the vocals.

"Deleting Those Three Words" becomes poignant, as Nathanael's words speak what many of us have contemplated before. "What if the only way to become finally free is to abandon our own existence? Will I exist if I die tonight? The only real friend sitting at my side is called Uncertainty, wishing me, "Farewell." Should I believe (delete?) those three words and will I still be safe tonight?"

"Seven Dead Horses" is a favorite, with another slow and somber start that remains such in this instrumental. The patterns are hypnotic. One can easily and unconsciously nod one's head along with it in a. slow-mo headbang. This is pure astral projection. "The Forest, Parts I and II" is a homage to the environment and its conservation. This is where one truly experiences what Green Metal is like.

Another favorite is the concluding track, "The Elk". It is another pleasing instrumental track that includes a spoken story about observing an elk in the woods. The resultant wish was that it would have continued for twice its length.

Despite the distraction of the harsh vocals - not my cup of tea - this album is an admirable offering. Now I have a sense of what the vegan, straight edge metal experience is like. I find it intriguing. The moments of ambient soundscapes are convincing. The only regret is not exactly seeing the concept of this concept album. Now, dear reader, it is your turn. Tell me what you see.

7 / 10


"The Elk" Track-listing:

1. Monument
2. Just Another Way Of Expressing Defeat
3. The Kind is Dead
4. My Transparent Heart
5. Today, The Sea (Anja's Song)
6. Deleting Those Three Words
7. Eternal Youth
8. Seven Dead Horses
9. Silence is Everything
10. Forest Pt. I (The Veil)
11. Forest Pt. II (The Grove)
12. The Story of Permanence
13. The Elk

Thranenkind Lineup:

Nathanael - Music (Songwriting, Lyrics, additional Vocals, Live-Bass)
Nils - Vocals
Flo & Max - Guitars
Emanuel - Drums

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