Wolves in the Throne Room
Black Cascade


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
March 29th, 2009 | 379 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wolves in the Throne Room swap personality for aggression.

Fans who've been following Wolves in the Throne Room since they debuted onto the black metal scene with Diadem of 12 Stars (or perhaps earlier) will immediately notice an ideological shift on Black Cascade, though perhaps not the one they envisioned after the surprisingly controversial Malevolent Grain EP. Unlike Malevolent Grain, an album that was highlighted by guest-vocalist Jamie Meyers' (ex-Hammers of Misfortune) stronghold over the music's decidedly (and unexpectedly) shoe-gazy sound, Black Cascade does not feature further departure from the band's more primal, aggressive black metal beginnings. In fact it's quite the contrary. While the album still features the band's windswept tremolo picking and harshly contrasted shrieks, their previous penchant for extended ambient passages has been given the boot, resulting in what some would call a loss of character.

Of course debating the merits of the band's former albums' use of ambiance is a highly personal argument. Fans of the band traditionally split into two schisms: while some prefer Diadem's textured ambiance as an accent to the band's black metal sound, others prefer Two Hunters effectiveness of focusing more on ambiance and using black metal as the accent. Black Cascade does not in any way present the happy medium. In the interest of the band's now rigorous intent to tour, Black Cascade sets out to present the band at their rawest. However, given that the band has not simplified track durations in-lieu of their more streamlined sound, the music does slightly overstay it's welcome. But for those who have the patience to endure 49.9 minutes of surprisingly traditional black metal, Black Cascade does a more than adequate job.

Ross Sewage, session-bassist on Black Cascade, is the odd man out on Black Cascade. Known for his work with the Carcass-worshipping death metal band Impaled and the tongue-in-cheek death-thrash of ex-Razorback steadfast Ghoul, Ross isn't typically the first name that pops into mind when I think “black metal”. Fittingly, bass is much the same. An instrument not traditionally used in black metal, Ross' work is much like his relativity to the rest of the band: relatively inconsequential. That being said, his work on the bass is at least present and it does underpin the band's two wheel-men. The brothers Weaver --Nathan on vocals and guitar and Aaron on drums-- are still the band's call to fame, wonderfully balancing visceral and earthly tones in spite of their less than spectacular technical ability.

Black Cascade ultimately presents the band with a perplexing dilemma. For many fans of the band, Black Cascade's mostly absent ambient element will prove to be a shift more dynamically disappointing than Malevolent Grain's cleaner, dreamier aesthetic. As such, Black Cascade is perhaps more suitably recommended to black metal's more traditional listeners, a group that has been largely alienated by the band's past outputs. This all results in an album that deserves the attention of those who've written them off in the past but demands that their fans approach it with caution. Those who are willing to take the plunge may be surprised in what they find. Or maybe not. In the end, Black Cascade should be taken for what it is: fodder for the band's increasingly heralded live show and, at its simplest, a strong output in an increasingly stagnant, attention craved US black metal scene.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
March 29th 2009


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wrote this in a really sterile, wordy tone. idk why, dont' ask.

this could be a 3 or a 3.5This Message Edited On 03.29.09

Willie
Moderator
March 29th 2009


16048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is the first release by them that I am really able to enjoy from start to finish.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2009


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is underwhelming and I didnt even like Two Hunters all that much

Hawks
March 29th 2009


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album fucking slays. My favorite WitTR album.

Tyler
Emeritus
March 29th 2009


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't like Two Hunters much either truth be told, but I still love Diadem.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2009


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

if this was released by another band (which it pretty much has been) no one would care about it.

marksellsuswallets
March 29th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't be such a satanic lizard, album's great.

bastard
March 29th 2009


3435 Comments


i really like this album

Hawks
March 29th 2009


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Don't be such a satanic lizard, album's great.

This.


jingledeath
March 29th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules

damn it I need to get the previous albums

Hawks
March 29th 2009


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Also this is some of the best album art I've seen for a black metal album.

marksellsuswallets
March 29th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never really payed much attention to BM album art since 99% of it is absurd and/or lame.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2009


7026 Comments


Summary is very accurate.

Nauseum
March 29th 2009


160 Comments


Happy 100th review as well?

I like this album man, sweet review.

Iai
Emeritus
March 29th 2009


3553 Comments


The summary makes it sounds like it should be a 3 at most, to be honest.

BallsToTheWall
March 29th 2009


44593 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yah, nice one to review for your 100th. Solid album, solid band. Nothing more to say about this group.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

rasputin
March 29th 2009


14550 Comments


Good review, the album was disappointing. I get the feeling that you want to like this more Tyler, but that it just doesn't offer enough.

mothergoose
March 29th 2009


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I am extremely happy they didn't go in the shoe-gaze direction. This album is superb.

Thor
March 29th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I kinda love this album

BallsToTheWall
March 29th 2009


44593 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed.



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