Wolves in the Throne Room
Crypt of Ancestral Knowledge


3.5
great

Review

by NightOnDrunkMountain USER (34 Reviews)
September 29th, 2023 | 63 replies


Release Date: 09/29/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ley lines woven with exquisiteness.

While arguably being one of the most influential names that contributed to the evolution of what is now known as Cascadian black metal, Wolves in the Throne Room’s brightest moments reside in the latter part of their discography rather than the early one. The band managed to release their most complete album, Thrice Woven, in 2017, and then topped it with an even more grandiose, monumental work in 2021, Primordial Arcana. It has been quiet for them in terms of new material since then, but a studio return in 2023 comes in the form of this short but wonderful EP.

Crypt of Ancestral Knowledge balances between deep, haunting atmospheric black metal that the band is so proficient at, and a healthy dose of dark ambient (which they have also tried in the past, but arguably not in full success). It’s barely 20 minutes long, which is quite normal for the EP format but rather short in the timescales that Wolves in the Throne Room usually communicate at. Nevertheless, the compact material, wrapped in this stunning artwork, makes a good case for itself under this duration. The textured synths, along with melancholic / melodic guitar lines in the first two tracks “Beholden to Clan” and “Twin Mouthed Spring”, will resonate well with all the fans of the band and demonstrate its established sound.

In a way, multiple elements take turns and are showcased in short bursts in the EP, from the middle / slower paced parts of the aforementioned two tracks, which also feature distinct keyboard use, acoustic guitars and the familiar, worn out shrieking vocals, to the ambiance that takes hold from track three “Initiates of the White Hart”. While the fourth and closing three minute outro “Crown of Stone” has more of a clear ambient approach, the one prior to it features more pagan / ritualistic sounds that connect it with Primordial Arcana, and that is more or less the whole of the current state of Wolves in the Throne Room. The band does throw a couple of punches with a few more ominous guitar riffs at a couple of moments too, e.g. at the intro of “Twin Mouthed Spring”, and a rather intimidating synth based section in the middle of “Beholden to Clan”.

While it’s all there, you might be left yearning for more after Crypt of Ancestral Knowledge concludes. The listener gets a proper feel of everything but only a bit of it, and it will probably work well building your mood towards diving into their previous records again, if you haven’t spun them in a while. There’s nothing much to complain about here, and a day with new Wolves in the Throne Room material is always a good day now, especially since the band is in that form.



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user ratings (75)
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Emeritus
September 29th 2023


11544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Strongly recommend no one listen to this on youtube though Im normally not that anal on audio quality, youtube really butchers this one. Material is sounding good so far but not as good as a lot of their stuff.



Nice review but Two Hunters/Celestial Lineage are their best albums :P

garas
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2023


7978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

> but Two Hunters/Celestial Lineage are their best albums :P

No.

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
September 29th 2023


11544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wendys parking lot, five minutes, bring thy fisticuffs

garas
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2023


7978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Only if we'll eat a menu after that.



More seriously: I still don't dig Two Hunters that much, their latest ones feel more captivating. This one is no exception.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2023


10635 Comments


Random question (will read the review later):

Is this as good as Thrice Woven?

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
September 29th 2023


11544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i wouldn't say so but I like thrice woven more than most I think.

FreakMachine
September 29th 2023


1913 Comments


Celestial is better than this but this is still a really good effort m/ Good review too

Hawks
September 29th 2023


84795 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is ok.

FreakMachine
September 29th 2023


1913 Comments


neck.

nash1311
September 29th 2023


7747 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was pretty disappointed that this was basically just two new tracks, one song that’s just an extended continuation of the Spirit of Lightning melody, and then an ethereal outro track. However the two new tracks are great

NightOnDrunkMountain
September 29th 2023


507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Voivod, I don't think it's as good as Thrice Woven, but still worth it



@Gameofmetal listened on Apple Music, it is pretty decent and yes, agreed



Later discography is still better though!

dbizzles
September 29th 2023


15186 Comments


'one song that’s just an extended continuation of the Spirit of Lightning melody'

That really bothered me too, tbh. Spirit of Lightning is my favorite track on PA but I really didn't need pt. II. Maybe there's a better way to enjoy it, idk.

dbizzles
September 29th 2023


15186 Comments


Good review, btw. I will have to ty Thrice Woven again; never got into it at all, was disappointed by it. Loved PA.

nash1311
September 29th 2023


7747 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah DB I was thinking maybe throwing the EP onto the end of the album would make for a solid experience because it might make it feel more like a motif or something haha. May give it a shot

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2023


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll take a peek at this over the weekend. Have a pos

NightOnDrunkMountain
September 29th 2023


507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys, I appreciate it.



Yeah it seems like there's not too much here, but these two tracks are really decent.

trilo
September 29th 2023


6017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah this was ok, actually liked the last 2 tracks more tbh

dbizzles
September 29th 2023


15186 Comments


'Yeah DB I was thinking maybe throwing the EP onto the end of the album would make for a solid experience because it might make it feel more like a motif or something haha. May give it a shot'

Definitely feels like a reprise, I think it would work better that way too

Bard0
September 30th 2023


13 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The 2 BM tracks are pretty solid, but honestly this just left me wanting more of that if anything.



Edit: Initiates felt kinda like they were trying to Celestite-ify Spirit of Lightning though. Crown of Stone is some nice background noise. however.

Hawks
September 30th 2023


84795 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Jammed this again. Probably the most boring, dead end thing they've ever done.



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