Wolves in the Throne Room
Malevolent Grain


3.5
great

Review

by Dakota West Foss USER (15 Reviews)
February 7th, 2009 | 80 replies | 13,953 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A glimpse into both the future and the past, "Malevelont Grain" certainly lacks context but is a strong effort from one of the best USBM bands nonetheless.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

With two critically acclaimed LP's under their belt, Wolves seem to be on the brink of....well, something completely different. The "trve" fans are probably crying in outrage that they've changed their logo so that you can actually read it and the more casual fans might just be put off by what this EP shows. Showing a little bit of what the future might hold and the ground they've already treaded, Malevolent Grain is bound to divide fans for a variety of reasons.

Let's start off with what may be the most controversial aspect of the new era of WitTR, which is the first track, "A Looming Resonance". For the first time in Wolves' history, this song contains only clean vocals and this is what seems to be dividing fans. The thing is, the vocals on here aren't like the beautifully haunting ones found on "Cleansing", the standout track from their previous LP, but are rather flat sounding in comparison. Initially, the vocals seem much worse than they actually are due to how radically different it sounds from anything they've done in the past. But, give it some time and the voice gradually seems to make more sense within the realm of all that is Wolves in the Throne Room.

Musically, "A Looming Resonance" is a pretty standard WitTR affair, which is always a good thing. The intro haunting guitar riff is present basically through the entire song and yet it somehow doesn't get old. However, after numerous listens, I can't help but feel that they are holding back on this song on purpose to show off the new vocal style. There is a break about halfway through the song where the drums are just relentlessly assaulted and the guitars are just strumming away, yet the vocals seem to be on repeat and show no more emotion than how it's been in the rest of the song. It's hard not to think that a high placed shriek or more emotive clean vocals would've been much more suited for that part of the song, onward.

While, the first song may be a clue as to what is in store for us on their upcoming LP, "The Black Cascade", "Hate Crystal" shows the side of WitTR that made them what they are today. Despite their conflicting styles, both songs flow quite beautifully into each other and from the get go, your ears are assaulted by all they can throw at you. As a matter of fact, I would go out on a limb and say that "Hate Crystal" is their most intense song yet. There are no pauses, no rest, no breaks or stops at all throughout its ten minutes and never lets up on its relentless attack. This might read like it would be boring or monotonous, but the real thing is much more interesting and you startto feel exhausted from the sonic attack.

Just as you begin to form an opinion on "Malevolent Grain", it's over. "Black Cascade" is merely a month a way so it's hard to tell if the changes implied on here will make an impact on the band's future sound, but for now these two tracks will suffice. While offputting at first, "Malevolent Grain" certainly rewards the more patient listeners if given the chance and while it may not be in the same league of its legendary LP brethren, this EP still contains some of the best USBM has to offer.



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user ratings (149)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Odal
February 7th 2009



334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wrote this one really fast so errors and stuff are probably there. Once again...comments/advice are appreciated.

username345
February 7th 2009



594 Comments


Damn, I didn't know a new EP was out.

Shame about the vocals, usually I'd like clean vocals if done well.

Odal
February 7th 2009



334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have you heard them?

rasputin
February 7th 2009



14504 Comments


I was thinking of reviewing this, still might do it. The only good thing about the EP is the female vocals, the rest is really bland.

Odal
February 7th 2009



334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If they didn't try so hard with putting out theur new vocal style and included some shrieks in "A Looming Resonance", then that song would be much better. "Hate Crystal" is awesome though

rasputin
February 7th 2009



14504 Comments


I found the riffing downright boring, and the vocals were okay but just seemed completely out of sync with the music. There was just nothing worth remembering from the track musically either; same with the first, except for the female vocals.

Odal
February 7th 2009



334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I'm not going to lie, the first time I heard the initial shriek on "Hate Crystal", I thought it was horrendous for some reason. It just felt unexpected but not in a good way. Needless to say, the whole thing kinda grew on me

Yazz_Flute
February 7th 2009



18734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not sure if i'll check this out but I'm stoked for their newest. Their first two LPs are phenomenal.

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

jingledeath
February 7th 2009



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't checked the band out yet and I don't feel like starting with this. Maybe their next full length.

Odal
February 7th 2009



334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Start from the beginning of their discography.

gashuffer
February 7th 2009



26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't understand all the uproar about the "new" vocal style. Doing a full song with someone they
worked with on Diadem of 12 Stars does not mean they've completely changed gears with vocals.
They're friends with Jamie, she did a song on them for an EP...and guess what? A song like that is
perfect for an EP. I don't expect a full song of Jamie on Black Cascade.

Though I know she worked with them on it, so there's at least going to be some of her vocals,
hopefully similar to Diadem.This Message Edited On 02.07.09

Mendigo
February 7th 2009



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really like this album, and the clear vocals do work perfectly on that song. I don't expect them to abandon their usual vocals, but I wouldn't mind another song with only clean vocals on Black Cascade either.
Probably I'll give this even a 4/5 rating, it's an awesome EP.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2009



15977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I need this, and I'm really looking forward to their next LP.

Digging: Tiamat - Wildhoney

joshuatree
Emeritus
February 7th 2009



3743 Comments


great review, i agree

botb
February 7th 2009



9279 Comments


DO WANT tbh

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

Hawks
February 7th 2009



33352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hate Crystal really saved this from being a 3.

BallsToTheWall
February 7th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was wondering this would be reviewed. Good work, female vocals rule. Does Jessica Kinney song on here again? First song has a bit of a shoegaze feel.This Message Edited On 02.07.09

masscows
February 7th 2009



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

more than a bit

BallsToTheWall
February 7th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Which makes it the all better. It seems the reviewer expected the same as Cleansing. This new route interests me alot, my foot is now tapping non stop for the new album.

Hawks
February 7th 2009



33352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked Looming Resonance for the first 5 minutes or so and then it got pretty repetitive. Hate Crystal is great for the whole thing.



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