Wolves in The Throne Room: BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini (Southern Lord)
Without a new album since 2011 Wolves In The Throne Room release their BBC sessions and Andy Santiago reviews for Louder Than War.
Spirituality is never far from the surface in Black Metal. Be it in the form of dark hymns to the Horned One below or in the case of Washington’s Wolves In The Throne Room, a more ecological and environmentally aware form.
Since the release of their debut album Diadem Of 12 Stars back in 2004 Wolves In The Throne Room have consistently produced some of the very best Black Metal I have heard in the past near 10 years.
Shunning the genetic corpsepaint and the band member pseudonyms that’s so inherent in Black Metal, Wolves In The Throne Room pioneered and developed an almost unique style and sound. Taking influences from the nihilistic Scandinavian sound and adding an altogether more earthy and organic feel, their music was quite literally trance inducing, especially in the live environment.
The aggression was always there but tempered with a powerful sense of the melodic, songs seemed to just build and build to massive plateaux, the stage lit only with candles and the cleansing aroma of burning sage in the air further heightened the almost out of body experience that was Wolves In The Throne Room live.
Last year the band announced they were going on a hiatus to concentrate on the farm the core members and brothers Nathan and Aaron Weaver own, and little has been heard from them since.
So after 4 full length studio albums, an ep and a live album, Wolves In The Throne Room have just put out the vinyl-only, two track BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini.
Recorded a month after the release of their fourth full length album Celestial Lineage at the BBC studios at Maida Vale the two tracks weigh in at ten minutes each and if this is the last Wolves In The Throne Room release, their legacy is confirmed.
The first track, Prayer of Transformation, begins with a squall of controlled feedback that gives way to the signature avalanche of dark, majestic riffs that define the Wolves In The Throne Room sound. It’s hard to put into words the power of this track, the harshness and beauty sit perfectly along side each other and images of nature at it’s most awe inspiring are conjured.
Thuja Magus Imperium follows and picks up the pace with some ambience developing blasting and then drifts into a hypnotic, almost Shamanic mid section that has a ritualistic, tribal feeling to it. Then back to the brooding, melodic soundscapes again that build to an exhilarating crescendo.
Atmospheric is an over used word when trying to describe music such as this but I’m willing to bet that were you to go walking in a remote, wintery countryside environment with this band blasting in the headphones, you would not only get it but be seriously moved by the power that is generated by a juxtaposition of the music and it’s very subject matter, nature in all its glory.
I do hope that the Weaver brothers decide to bring back the band and this release may serve as a reminder that they are still a going concern. For their relatively short period of activity, they produced a stunning body of recorded work and I was lucky enough to see them live twice, occasions that are not easily forgotten and experiences I’d love to have again.
All words by Andy Santiago. More writing by Andy on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.