Review Summary: Another masterful product of escapism.
Words like furious, blistering and vicious are often used to describe black metal. Admittedly, sharp, tremolo guitars, shivering cymbals and venomous vocals played in unison usually tend to have that effect. However, itâ€™s intriguing to hear a black metal band described as peaceful every now and then, given that their transcending soundscapes use the same techniques that they, and other bands, use to project the familiar tones of hostility and malice. Sure, standard-bearers of the genre Ă* la Burzum, have reflected their moments of tranquillity through extensive intermissions of synthesiser and others such as Wardruna rely heavily on calming, rustic instrumentation and naturalistic delivery. Yet, Wolves In The Throne Room manage to glide between tenderness and ferocity without drastically altering their delivery.
What is the key to their success? Integrity. Wolves in the Throne Room traditionally draws inspiration from the landscape of their native Pacific Northwest region and with â€śThrice Wovenâ€ť
, the band has reaffirmed their dedication to this formula. Through meandering song structures and touching melodies, they aim to guide the listener through a portal into the natural wonder that is their homeland, to recreate the sense of awe, expanse and mindfulness one experiences when surrounded solely by nature. Undoubtedly, â€śThrice Wovenâ€ť
is a black metal record but its true personality is rooted in its folky, sylvan traces.
When trying to elicit a response, Wolves in the Throne Room never come across as inauthentic. Via rushing rhythms, soaring guitars and rousing crescendos, the band never asks you to be moved; they move you. Largely, this is due to the hypnotic repetition of Wolves in the Throne Roomâ€™s structuring. In most bands, repetition can come across as tedious, however, it truly is the backbone of the bandâ€™s song-writing. Furthermore, while itâ€™s an integral part of their formula, the band always knows when to refresh the listener just as they start to get too comfortable, otherwise, the songs would ultimately come across as artificial. Instead, the intensity is built through these cyclic, pendulous rhythms which offer the audience a more organic, wholesome experience. Songs such as â€śBorn From The Serpents Eyeâ€ť would not appear as invigorating if the band had not paced themselves. Consequently, the cavernous effects behind the instrumentation crash like waves against the coarse tremolo guitars, offering enough depth and space for the ensuing climax.
Cinematic imagery is injected into a traditional black metal aesthetic during â€śAngrbodaâ€ť where rabid bass and beastly drums give way to dripping water and synthesiser which conjure an air mystery, like walking through a secret cave system on your own, observing ancient runes describing tales of long-forgotten mythologies. Additionally, Wolves in the Throne Room once again display their ability to create vivid imagery in their atypical black metal moments. Anna Von Hausswolff is a fantastic asset to â€śThrice Wovenâ€ť
as her celestial chants during the opening track radiates an immersive, heavenly atmosphere and reappears once more in the short intermission, â€śMother Owl, Father Oceanâ€ť alongside heart-wrenching harp chords.
Wolves In the throne room continue to outdo nearly every other band in the black metal pack but on their most recent effort, they donâ€™t quite outdo themselves. Nevertheless, â€śThrice Wovenâ€ť
is a glorious return for the band, steeped in ancestral reverence, mythical ideologies and grand musicianship. It wholly succeeds in transporting you to peaceful location, free from the materialistic burdens of modern life that seem so insignificant in the grand scheme of things.