Wolves in the Throne Room
Celestial Lineage


4.0
excellent

Review

by Keith Anderson USER (2 Reviews)
September 12th, 2011 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: WITTR forsake the monotonous qualities that plagued their recent efforts, unashamedly reverting to the more atmospheric black metal that they're so damn good at making.

In the summer after my sophomore year of high school, I spent a week backpacking in the wilderness of western Washington with a couple of my friends. In this immense temperate rainforest, awash with green and capped with the immeasurably huge Cascade volcanoes, we bonded with each other and with nature. I have to admit that the initial allure of this prospect was partially due to my love for Two Hunters, the sophomore album by Wolves In the Throne Room. Filled with haunting vocals, magnificent soundscapes, and driving black metal riffs, the album was, according to the band, inspired by the beauty of the Cascadian wilderness in which their self-sustaining farm was located. Now, it may have been a pretty ridiculous shtick, but when it inspired them to make such great music, how could I complain?

Day I
My two friends and I began our epic journey early in the morning of June 24th, 2010. With our 50-pound packs, our water filters, and our Power Bars™, we set off into this magnificent wilderness that served as the lifeblood of the music I loved. Out of our 7 days of hiking, the first day seemed the longest. This could either have been caused by a deceptive mentality similar to how Mondays seem to never end, or it could have been that the day was literally longer due to our earlier start. It didn’t matter, though, because Day #1 was easily one of our most interesting days. The morning began with incredibly beautiful birdsong ringing through the trees. It didn’t last long, though: as soon as we reached the edge of the first cliff that we were due to hike down, the avian music ended and our minds were filled with a cacophony of anticipation and fear. This feeling was only excited after lunch, when we experienced our first anomaly of the trip. A strange creature, like a cross between a wolf and a mystical forest elf, emerged from the brush. It introduced itself as a “Thuja.” Now, we did not and we still have no idea what in Mother Nature’s name a Thuja is. We also have no idea why it was magical or what it ruled over, as it kept calling itself a magical emperor. It was, however, a pretty chill dude: it accompanied us for the rest of our first day, which consisted of breathtaking peaks, valleys, and landscapes. The atmosphere of this day was, possibly because of the freshness of the experience in our minds, more powerful than any that would follow.

Day II
After camping out that night, we woke in the morning to realize that the Thuja had left us. Due to this lack of guidance, we resolved to spend this day in more or less the same location, taking an opportunity to explore the natural beauty that was all around us. It was a short and peaceful day, filled with mystical groans from elven nature spirits and a whole lot of ganja. We smoked so much that it permanently altered our collective consciousness for the rest of the trip, allowing us even more enjoyment of the Cascadian wilderness that we would have gotten otherwise.

Day III
Our third day may have been the most harrowing of our epic Cascadian nature adventure. We woke up later than we’d wanted to, and our day was a bit short because of it, but its intensity more than made up for its questionable length. In the late morning, we noticed a strange cavern in a rock face, and decided against our better judgment to venture into its depths. It was dark, brooding, and exciting, but it also had a very epic vibe. Even in our subterranean adventure’s most harrowing moments, we could look up to the ceiling of this magnificent cavern and feel comfort in its incredible magnitude. The ceiling seemed miles away, and the cavern’s walls were more spectacular than any manmade structure ever could have been. In our amazement, we almost didn’t notice the strange creatures that surrounded us. Rivaling the previously encountered Thuja in utter strangeness, they were like man-bear-warthogs with wings. They performed a magical pagan ritual with us, initiating us into their mystical cult of evergreen worship. After this strange experience, we ventured out of the cavern, armed with a newfound nature-sense and a whole lot more ganja that the man-bear-warthogs had grown and given to us.

Day IV
After this incredibly memorable day, we were expecting our fourth day to rival or even exceed it, but this was not to be. The most interesting thing that happened over the course of day #4 was when we saw a random rainbow on the horizon. It seemed to cause my two buddies some sort of illness, prompting them to spout an incomprehensible discourse about a “double rainbow, all the way!” It also involved a lot of weeping. Now, I’m pretty sure about two things. The first is that it was not a double rainbow (which would have made that day much more interesting), and the second is that the ganja obtained from the magical cave creatures was laced with some strange organic pagan biochemical that altered my friends’ minds in a weird way. I guess that I was fortunate not to have smoked that day. However, it might have made this disappointing day at least a bit more interesting.

Day V
Possibly the strangest day of the week, our fifth day of backpacking was mostly spent exploring one area rather than moving forward and covering distance in our journey. We happened to come across a random cathedral in these mystical woodlands; one that had once been a Christian church but seemed to have been taken over by the rocks and the roots. When we ventured inside, the sight of 66 total Thujas (including our good imperial mage friend from the first day), winged man-bear-warthogs, and magical songbirds greeted us. These songbirds were the same ones who serenaded us for the first section of the first day, and their return was more than welcome. After getting over an initial sense of déjá-vu (we were pretty sure that we had seen and experienced something similar on a parallel backpacking adventure a few years back), we sat down and enjoyed a wonderful pagan forest service paying respect to Mother Nature. The preacher, who was basically a moose who had developed the ability to stand on two legs, implored us to enjoy the serenity of the woodland cathedral, warning us that our final two days would be intense journeys of harrowing hikes and powerful-self discovery. We then smoked the cave herb with the magical forest creatures and relaxed for the rest of this short day.

Day VI
Our second-to-last day may have been the most epic out of all the days in our journey. The power of the Cascadian forests beckoned us to adventure, harkening back to days one and three. Here, we had more rock faces to traverse, more magnificent views to survey, and more physically trying hikes to attempt than ever before. We hiked into the night, when the stars themselves seemed to flow with astral blood. Over the course of this longer-than-average day, we witnessed the beauty, power, and epicness of nature in a way that is difficult to put into words. If there was a single day that we were to remember after our trip was finished, this was it. We, of course, took a few scattered breaks in which we relaxed and smoked more herb. One of my friends had even managed to locate an actual harp in the middle of one glade, and we gently strummed away on this golden instrument to our 16-year-old hearts’ content. But this interlude did not last for long, and we soon thereafter returned to doing really epic and manly things in the Cascadian Mountains. We, in fact, smashed the harp, wishing that we had a super metal electric guitar with which we could jam some tremolo riffs. We didn’t need an amp, however: we could simply plug it into a majestic spiritual evergreen using a root as a cord, and it could run off the mystical spirituality of the glorious Pacific Northwestern wilderness. Seeing as how we didn’t have access to a guitar, though, we settled for simply doing more really epic things. It was a good day.

Day VII
Our final day was a fascinating one. After six straight days of traversing the Cascadian wilderness, taking in hella nature along the way, we were expecting something pretty awesome. The final leg of our journey consisted of a very long hike up a very steep mountain, and was set to end with a completely epic view of the entire landscape as a grand finale. As such, we were prepared for a large part of this day to be tedious, but we were driven by the hope of an absolutely spectacular payoff. Luckily for us, the journey up the mountain was, while difficult, droning, and tedious, relatively interesting. There was something powerful about watching the ground fall back from behind us as we ascended higher and higher. As we climbed, our anticipation, tension, and excitement grew. By the time we were near the top, our emotions were hard to contain. We crested the final ridge, pulled ourselves up to gaze over the edge in glorious wonder, and then…

God damn it! One of my friends with whom I had embarked on this epic journey lost his footing and tumbled hundreds of feet down the mountain face. We had to go down and rescue him, and when we noticed that his leg was broken, our hearts broke as well: not because of his plight, but because we never were able to get a satisfying look at the climactic view that was all but promised to us. I felt bad for the guy with his shattered leg and all, but part of me wanted to punch him in the face. Our epic Cascadian nature backpacking adventure had been a thoroughly memorable and enjoyable experience, but without that final payoff, it seemed incomplete. Couldn’t the dude have waited another 3 minutes to go and fall off a cliff? But don’t take me for a whiner, for even with this huge disappointment, that week in the summer of 2010 was truly a powerful and rewarding experience. I finally understood the source of inspiration for black metal bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, and I would treasure this knowledge for the rest of my life.


user ratings (397)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
rmill3r (4)
While black metal continues to strive for nothing more than sounding exactly like the last album tha...

CharizardOysterSauce (3.5)
Between the blastbeats, distortion and drones, all that is left is interludes, chimes, and female Vo...

Kyle Ward STAFF (3)
An album of muted progression and fading inspiration...

DarkNoctus CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
wasted potential ruined by self-indulgence....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Transcend
September 12th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album hasn't technically been released in my time zone, but I'm pretty sure it's the 13th in Europe. Therefore, this review should be legit.

Also, I've spent a good week or so writing and perfecting this, so please don't be *too* mean.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2011


18483 Comments


I'm not sure if i want to read all of that but it seems like you put a lot of time into it.

Digging: Recondite - Caldera/DRGN 2

Transcend
September 12th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm fully aware of its considerable tl;dr factor, but I think (read: hope) that its enternainment value makes up for it. I also take great solace in the fact that it doesn't even approach the length of some other reviews I've seen here (X Japan).

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2011


18483 Comments


I'll go through it just because im a nice guy.

Transcend
September 13th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're the best, Hyperion

zaruyache
September 13th 2011


6484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I see what you did here, with the review. I need to listen through this again, but I don't think it's anywhere near a 4/5.

Digging: Alpha Male Tea Party - Droids

Transcend
September 13th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm a bit of a WITTR fanboy so my opinion may not be entirely objective... Ah, well.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2011


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

WITTR forsake the monotonous qualities that plagued their recent efforts


Hmm.

rasputin
September 13th 2011


14544 Comments


bet this is even more boring than their last few releases

Transcend
September 13th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Im my *opinion,* that is entirely true. I completely understand why so many people around here disagree.

ZombicidalMan
September 13th 2011


1804 Comments


I loved Diadem a ton, but I'm not so sure about their other works... nonetheless I'll look into this one. Nice review.

eggsvonsatan
September 13th 2011


1087 Comments


Terrible review. I don't care about your homo bro-down camping trip, and neither does anyone else.

Transcend
September 13th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, cool.

Acanthus
September 13th 2011


9543 Comments


I pos'd because I needed a break from the other (cough, Heritage cough) reviews. This was interesting to read, and made me want to go listen to folk-metal quite a bit; my only real issue was the use of the word "weed." Compared to the rest of the landscape you painted it seems out of context and much to modern (though I know the term is not), I think "ganja" flowed better.

Still need to get into this band, they intrigue me.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2011


8822 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

the review is cool but considering the majority of it doesn't even mention the music i'm not sure i can pos it man, sorry. :[

where it's an interesting read i just don't think it's a good review.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

Transcend
September 13th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's all good, I didn't write this expecting everyone to love it. It was more of an experimental thing.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2011


8822 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

well i won't neg it, since it's well written for what it is, no doubt.

Transcend
September 13th 2011


361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks :]

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2011


18483 Comments


I pos'd because i hate the standard "x sounds like x uses x elements to create x" whatever reviews.

I usually only look at the rating and the reviewer anyways so this was an interesting read.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2011


8822 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

yeah it's certainly more creative than my review, for sure. :]



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