Wolves In The Throne Room have long been touted as America’s great black metal hope with their mixture of metal extremity with themes of nature and power mixed with a veil of folk here and there to create a familiar, yet distinct musical output. This distinct musical output can be divisive. As a listener I have never been able to grasp the concept of the band or their music. Until now that is.
Something about the density of this album makes sense: there is little light and shade on offer through the forest of riffs and battering drums as at times it all feels the music is careening towards a precipice of its own making with the opening track Mountain Magick as well as fast follow up Spirit of Lightning breathing and heaving struggling to let any light into its darkness.
This heavier pattern continues throughout, allowing only peaks of the folk elements the band have built a reputation on until Underworld Aurora comes into play. Allowing the listener time to recoup and gather thoughts from the intensity of side A of the record, wistful winds blow as oriental stringed instruments play, giving way to a musical ambiance Wolves in the Throne Room have shown small signs of in their later catalogue. As the track comes crashing to a close, it blends in seamlessly with follow up track Masters of Rain and Storm, a long meandering wander through the band’s catalogue wrapped up in one epic track, flowing like a muddy creek from calm ambiance to black metal fury with a course of middling plod to hold a form of musical suspense as to the next musical direction it is flowing in.
This album will possibly be seen as a divisive entry into the band’s diverse catalogue, in large part due to the fact they have struck a balance that is capable of drawing in the casual observer such as myself, while still holding onto all of the ferocity that first gained the band the attention they so richly deserve. The best tip I can give you is to listen to it with an open mind, and a great set of headphones.
1. Mountain Magick
2. Spirit of Lightining
3. Through Eternal Fields
4. Primal Chasm (Gift of Fire)
5. Underworld Aurora
6. Masters of Rain and Storm