Tragacanth – „The Journey of a Man”
Pest Records / Loud Rage Music

Tragacanth is a black/death metal band with broad symphonic influences. Hailing from the heart of the Netherlands, their songs however tell of ancient Babylonian tales and times.Composer and lead guitarist Erik Brouwer set everything in motion in 2014 and soon Jasper van Minnen (theNAME) joined on drums. Adrian „OQ” Neagoe (Negură Bunget) joined on guitar and with Terry Stooker to perform the vocals Tragacanth completed their recording line-up for their debut album, called ‚Anthology of the East’.
„Anthology of the East” gives a great summary of what Tragacanth is about. Entrancing melodies and energetic drums, woven together by vast symphonic sections and interlaced by lyrical themes ranging from spiritual wars and long forgotten lore, to mythical creatures.
Second full-length,”The Journey of a Man” from Utrecht’s progressive Black/Death hybrid Tragacanth is a rather impressive beast, managing to develop their extreme form of metal together into a cohesive, tightly-controlled unit that is far more memorable than the sum of its parts. „The Journey of a Man” implements gratuitous amounts of black metal influence and a cluster of progressive landscapes and off-kilter musical sequences.”The Journey of a Man”can’t be pigeonholed into a specific genre, although what Tragacanth does here is technically extreme metal cooked up with progressive elements. Most of the riffs Tragacanth churns out sound like standard black metal fare, throwing in some melodic death kinks and other trades and tricks caressing the dimensions of Death’s „Symbolic” album and other similar records. The percussion is, well, extreme; lots of fast, punishing patterns and blast beats. Mark Oosterbaan bass work has a surprisingly integral function within the record, as he can be heard plucking away in odd rhythms throughout the entire journey. The rhythm section isn’t only doing rhythms, but are vital fragments to the whole. They are not technical just to make it sound eccentric, but because of coherence. Mainly the pace of the music is somewhere between mid-paced and faster, with some occasional blasting.
The music of Tragacanth is multi-layered. It is still coherent and not labyrinthine in a negative way. At times, it can be very clear, sometimes more murky. Whatever mood is preferred.There’s one growing trend in the record that quickly becomes apparent, and that’s the band’s off-kilter approach to traditional Black Metal. This isn’t the sort of music that appears to be imitating what Norway produced in the early 90s, instead offering extreme Progressive Metal with Black Metal-ish vocals, creating essential a rather unique and recognizable sound but one that isn’t all that traditional.At the centre of these sounds is a strong foundation of equal parts abrasive, melodic and atmospheric blackened death metal from which flow a variety of progressive elements. Songs meander down expertly composed lines, taking the listener through epic landscapes, twisting and turning, doubling back and leaping forth. Strong riffing, tremolo picking, catchy hooks, blast beats and a relentless refusal to even acknowledge any existing template for extreme metal all characterise this release.