Author: Chris Wickham
The Cape of Stranglethorn is the southern part of the former Stanglethorn Vale that was split by the cataclysm, located on the southernmost tip of the Eastern Kingdoms. The deceptively beautiful jungle is populated by hostile wildlife such as raptors and crocolisks, but once homed the trolls of the mighty Gurubashi Empire before their dissolution. Pockets of various troll tribes continue to wander the region, populating the ruins of their once vast empire. The region boasts points of interests such as the lucrative Gurubashi Arena and the goblin city of Booty Bay, a bustling transport and trading hub on the southernmost tip of the region which hosts the famous weekly fishing extravaganza.
As one might expect, Stranglethorn Vale’s constituent regions share very similar music. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm introduced a new set of musical variations, much to the dismay of some veteran players who preferred the more contemporary, exotic nature of the original soundtrack. The use of pan flutes exploring scales with a more 'Eastern flavour' and a myriad of exotic tuned percussion and bells are the key musical ingredients here, and perfectly the capture not only the rich heritage of the shamanistic trolls that once ruled the area, but the deceptive beauty of the surrounding jungle canopy. The pan flutes gracefully dance over the respective percussive foundation and are largely improvisational in nature. Real-life tribes are well known for their rich aural heritage of stories and folk melodies; narratives are often passed down through generations, with each rendition differing slightly depending on the storyteller. There are even certain communities who chart the topography rainforest canopy around them and the personal memories associated with them through music. These improvisational flute melodies bear resemblance to these facets of existing tribes, and produce an intriguing parallel with the real world. After all, all fantastical races are based on existing races to some extent.
As the variations progress, more conventional instrumentation is introduced. The ubiquitous pan flutes continue to improvise over growling brass pads and foreboding strings backdrop. Even though the visual landscape is vastly different from the neighbouring regions, the threat of danger remains consistent. One might also submit that it symbolises the effect of the Alliance and Horde's presence on the natural environment. Another variation around 7:00 introduces a classical nylon guitar, an instrument rarely heard in World of Warcraft's sonic universe. This emphasises just how unique the landscape and lore of Stranglethorn Vale is compared to the rest of the Eastern Kingdoms.