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Wolves In The Throne Room - Diadem Of 12 Stars CD (album) cover

DIADEM OF 12 STARS

Wolves In The Throne Room

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Dim
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Four songs one hour long... if I didn't know better I would think that this would be just another symphonic prog group, boy would I be wrong. Wolves in the Throne room is a satanic progressive black metal band from the United States with three members. Two guitars, one of them a singer, and a drummer, no bass. Even without a Bass or keys, this group is able to produce such rich textures in their music, and are able to provoke so much emotion that just makes you want to boil over in righteous anger. What sounds like a very pretentious band is really one of the most honest, and ingenious groups out there.

This album, Diadem of 12 Stars is definitely not as flexible as their latest album, Two Hunters. There is no atmospheric track to start the album, and there is no tribal drumming, as soon as you press play you are immediately sent to hell! The album starts with Queen of the borrowed light, one of my favorite black metal songs to date. It's dynamic with backing choir like female vocals, fused fuzzy guitars intertwining with each other to make some glorious riffing and chord progressions. In this song, to compliment the lead singers demon-ish shrieks they bring in a guest singer, with one of the most mammoth death metal growls I've ever heard. Having heard Two hunters before this, which didn't include this guy, I flipped out when this monster came in and scared the crap out of me. The song goes to great lengths with an acoustic section thrown in there, a guitar solo, and even some profanity laced vocals to give it a daring edge, all to end perfectly in a massive ending. Best song on the album. The rest of the songs all follow this trend, but all with different experimental sections, some of them good, some of them bad.

One thing that annoyed me with the music was of course, the drumming, the drummer cant seem to shake off the nasty black metal beats at all on this one. On Two Hunters he manages to break this trend, and really make some incredible driving beats. Oh well, looks like he learned his lesson after they got done with this one. Another thing is that the music dose get a little monotonous, without the tribal Esq songs, or strictly atmosphere songs, the album does sometime stoop into sheer black metal madness.

Really not as good as two hunters, all the songs are interesting, but all have certain parts I don't like. Therefore not really deserving of four stars, which sucks cause it really is a great album, and does stick it's head way above what I consider to be three star albums. Oh well, you got to be able to make output that either meets, or rises your other output, and if it doesnt, it cant be rated as high, therefore, the album gets the three stars.

Report this review (#176040)
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Diadem of 12 Stars is the debut album from post metal/ black metal act Wolves in the Throne Room. Donīt make the mistake of thinking that this is a black metal album, as there are far more post metal tendencies here than black metal ditto.

The music altenates between fast, mid and slow paced parts. The pace is predominantly set by the drums while the guitars are mostly played in a slow majestic way. There are tremolo picking here and there but even when the drums play really fast the guitars are mostly slow. The music is melodic while the vocals are mostly harsh black metal screaming. There are some clean female vocals on Face in a Night Time Mirror, Part I though. That part reminds me of Maudlin of the Well. The guitars are very much in melodic post metal territory and Iīm sometimes reminded of Pelican when they are most heavy ( add fast drumming though).

The songs are very long. Three of the four songs are about 12-13 minutes long while the last song (A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem of 12 Stars is over 20 minutes long. The music is very atmospheric and at times beautiful. This is a bit of an achivement as there are only guitars, drums and vocals to make the grand sound.

The production is deliberately lo-fi and even though I wouldnīt ordinarely enjoy such a primitive production I must admit that it suits the music perfectly.

The musicianship seems to be allright but the drumming isnīt very tight but again the muddy production and the stripped down approach suits the music well.

I have had a positive experience listening to Diadem of 12 Stars. I wasnīt expecting to like this but actually found the album quite charming in itīs own primitive way. It touches excellent a few times along the way but overall my rating will be 3 stars. This one is highly recommended to post metal fans who would like to hear something a bit different. Donīt get scared away by the black metal parts as they are not that harsh. You canīt compare this with real black metal. I think Wolves in the Throne Room are a very interesting band and Iīll be looking forward to listening to their next album.

Report this review (#182260)
Posted Friday, September 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Bleak, harsh, muddy, uncomfortable, but at the same time in a wonderfully evil atmosphere. It wouldn't seem like these attributes would all fit together, but somehow they do in Diadem of 12 stars. In this record, Wolves in the Throne Room utilizes their lo-fi black metal instrumentation to create some of the bleakest atmospheres in music today, prog or not.

Of course, lots of prog fans may complain that the music goes on too long, but they should take time to learn to enjoy the atmosphere. Diadem of 12 Stars will take a bit of time to appreciate, due to the low production value and the harsh sounds like the black metal screams and the distorted guitars. Once a person begins to actually listen to it, they may discover a form of black metal comparable to post rock giants like Godspeed You Black Emperor!, repeating riffs and developing a song over long lengths of time.

All four of the lengthy 12-minute and up tracks are great, though the longest one, "(A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem Of 12 Stars" has just a bit of padding that may be difficult to listen to, though it also contains excellent acoustic guitar parts and the most energetic outro of any of the compositions on the album. Also thoroughly enjoyable are the soft female vocals on "Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 1", adding to the mystical and deep atmosphere.

The bottom line is any fan of experimental or atmospheric metal should definetely enjoy this, and it is reccomended for fans of both Tech/Extreme metal and Experimental/Post metal. Other prog fans may have mixed opinions, but should still take the time to appreciate this type of music.

Report this review (#219231)
Posted Monday, June 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After 2 self-released demos, Wolves in the Throne Room released their debut effort, Diadem of 12 Stars, and while later efforts from the band hold up better for me, there are still plenty of things about this album to enjoy. As one would expect, this is pretty lo-fi black metal of epic proportions. The album last just over 60 minutes and of the 4 songs on here, all of them are anything but short.

The bleak atmospheres that I love about Wolves in the Throne Room are very much present here. To be honest, this album feels like their most avant-garde one to me to date. It almost feels more like an avant-garde band making (fairly) brutal black metal music than a black metal band. And of course, despite the heaviness at various tempos, there are a few melodic moments to be found. The female vocals on Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 1 add a bit of variety to the otherwise black metal screaming present. One thing that really makes this album stand out is that, despite the beautifully dark atmospheres, is the fact that they are created only by 2 guitars and drums. No bass or keyboards were used to make the album, and I admire Wolves in the Throne Room for being willing to try an unconventional method.

There are two factors that bring this album down a bit for me though. The first is the drumming. It feels like it's out of beat at times, and it doesn't seem like it's on purpose to me. The second is how this album is more about bleakness than anything else. There are a few melodic moments, but none as engrossing or worthwhile as on later Wolves in the Throne Room releases. 3 stars is about all I can give this release. Thankfully, I can pull this out every now and then, but it's definitely my least-played album in their discography to date.

Report this review (#232347)
Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Don't tell me that this is not demo. If not, why it sounds like one. First I though I'll quite like this album, as the sound was consistent and no sudden changes was to be expected, but then, it began to be just dull. Dull and empty, like corridors of deserted castle, where only cold wind roams. Cold and empty, that's what "Diadem" is. It's not completely terrible, as I can get myself to listen to it. However, I don't feel satisfied. Normally, I like debuts (Genesis, Pink Floyd one, even Dream Theater's one), but even I haven't heard their demos yes, I know I won't be happy about it.

However, UMUR said interesting thing about it, it's charming in its own, primitive way. I felt it too, even far less (I suppose)

2(+), for metal fans charming more I suppose.

Report this review (#253268)
Posted Saturday, November 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is this album for people with a taste in ambient and post-related music? Absolutely. Is it for people who mainly listen to prog/fusion? If they have an open mind. With their debut, WITTR has established themselves as a very different black metal act then most. Gone is the brutality, satanic themes and corpse paint of previous bands in the genre, replaced with epic song lengths, extended trance inducing melodies and an eco- feminist ideology. Every song on here is significantly longer then most traditional song lengths, 4 songs in just about an hour. Within which, is a sort of catharsis of the mind. The melodies are simple, very distorted and very hypnotic, and the ultra-fast blast beat drumming pounds away in your head to make sure you stay in that hypnosis. This band is known for not staying merely within the black metal realm, in these extended pieces we see elements of not only black metal, but post rock, prog rock, crust punk and ambient, all without losing the atmospheric textures of it all. Beautiful female vocals (by guest Jamie Myers of formally the bassist of Hammers of Misfortune) are brought into the mix as a stark contrast to Nathan Weaver's attention grabbing shrieks and bellows that dig deep into inner emotions and tear through the ambiance as if possessed by a forest spirit. The production is very primitive and seems to be recorded on something analogue, without digital manipulation the sounds seems more real and not tampered with, as if giving you the full entrapping sound-scape that you would get if the band was playing right next to you. Highly emotional, highly experimental and highly recommended. 5/5

By the way, Wolves in the Throne Room is NOT a satanic band. I've seen other reviews that have labeled them as such, and it's far from the truth. They have stated in many interviews there complete disinterest in the subject, and it is not included in any of their lyrical themes. Also, they have been noted for their lack of such themes that's very present in most black metal.Their lyrics tend to generally be about spirituality, forests and despair. I wouldn't want anybody to assume that they were, or be misinformed. Thank you.

Report this review (#306760)
Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I just heard the whole album.I'm a fan of the band but I try to be fair.The sound isn't so good.But it doesn't have a demo's sound.It has a medium sound.There are interesting ideas.Some moments the album is monotonous but in the black metal way.So,it didn't bother me so much.The music is sad,depressive and ethereal.The vocals of Dino Sommese and Jamie Myers(wonderful soft vocals)are great.

The artwork is great.These trees on the rocks is great image.And very nature-friendly.

My favorite track is (A shimmering radiance)Diadem of 12 stars because it contains and it has all the elements of the album together.

This album isn't for everyone.Mostly,it's good for fans of this genre.But it's an interesting album.I believe that there's a small amount of hope inside here.

My grade:7/10

Report this review (#379257)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' - Wolves In The Throne Room (5/10)

Wolves In The Throne Room's 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' has that rare honour of being a debut album that has been called a masterpiece of its style. Although the second record 'Two Hunters' received even greater acclaim, this first full-length from the Washington-based group sent waves throughout the North American black metal scene. Having been introduced to this band through their masterpiece 'Two Hunters', I grew to love what the band had done on that album. Its spiritual atmosphere and epic approach made it an album that I came to love, even if it was a tad slow to grow on me. With my experience of their best album coming first, my experience with the first and third albums has been something of a disappointment. 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' is even more disappointing than 'Black Cascade', if even only for the fact that I had been told numerous times what a majestic album it was. However, what its turned out to be for me has been a sloppy and meandering take on black metal that shows great potential around its edges, but comes up short in the end.

The album is an hour long, divided into four tracks. With the last track passing the grand 20 minute mark, Wolves In The Throne Room can at the very least be lauded for being so ambitious. What I have found this music to be however is brutally inconsistent. There are parts here where I see where the album's fans are coming from however. the clean female vocals are a very ethereal touch, and what melodies that Wolves chooses to elaborate on tend to work very well. All of these aspects would turn out much better on 'Two Hunters' though. The dreary production is fairly standard for the genre, but here, it tends to obscure some of the guitars and drums to a point where it stops contributing to the atmosphere, and starts to deter from the musical experience.

'Two Hunters' was lo-fi, but looking back on it, it had a very refined sensibility to it; there was that feeling that each piece of reverb and ambiance was an intentional move of the band/ Here on 'Diadem Of 12 Stars', there is more the feeling that Wolves In The Throne Room took all of their pieces and tossed them on the floor, just to see where they might end up. These compositions are not totally random, but they feel as if they lack a strong sense of direction to them. Be it for the lack of many melodies and somewhat monotonous nature of the black metal riffing here, none of the songs really distinguish themselves from one another. Instead, I can remember this album for the good moments where the band gets that dramatic atmosphere that I heard so much of on 'Two Hunters'.

I cannot say that I can see why 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' is considered such an accomplishment by the American black metal community. It is far more ambitious than the average black metal record, but alot of these ideas feel sloppy and unrealized. Were it not for the moments of inspiration, the album would be fairly bland for me. Wolves In The Throne Room would fortunately take the good elements here and amplify them however, and with their second time around, they would finally create what I consider to be a masterpiece of this style of music.

Report this review (#508477)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 6/10

"Diadem In 12 Stars" has interesting traits and promises great things for Wolves In the Throne Room.

American Black Metal for some is just a joke. That is, for the Black Metal (pretentious) purists. But Wolves In The Throne Room prove how these people are wrong. Their debut album was "Diadem In 12 Stars", an album that shows the uniqueness of the band and how, even though not having extremely solid roots in the Scandinavian scene, they are credible, and loyal to the genre.

Even from the start, WITTR have received attention because of their sound: this debut album of theirs distances itself from the more traditional side of BM, incorporating different styles and making them mesh one another: there are a great amount of shoegazey guitars, female clean vocals, audible melodies, atmospheric acoustic passages, and quite a bit of dynamicity. Their music is hypnotic but not repetitive, complex but easy to follow. The richness of the textures, the variety, and the carefully structured songs make Wolves a much more progressive influenced band in comparisons with other Atmospheric Black Metal bands like Burzum or early Ulver, also because of the unusually different rhythms, more syncopated and elaborate than the stale ones of the more traditional bands.

"Diadem in 12 Stars" is one of those albums whose cover perfectly reflects the music of the album: with a cascade surrounded by trees and by fog, it brings the listener right in front of that spectacle: in the more hypnotic moments, one finds himself directly underneath the cascade, bathed by ethereal, silvery water that falls either smoothly or harshly. There is in fact a strong feeling of ethereal, dreamy nature in the compositions and in the lyrics, that echoes throughout the entire album.

With only four tracks and an hour worth of length, "Diadem In 12 Stars" is an extremely consistent album in terms of structure: it's biggest gripe is the fact that these songs are made out of the same ingredients, and the resulting cake tastes the same. Even though the variation is of course undeniable within the songs, there is no variation from track to track, and the formulas are just repeated again, becoming a little stale when reaching to an end to this LP. The songs, studied individually, are all good, pretty entertaining (even though some moments feel simply passive and not as engaging as they should), and well planned. It seems though that the album as a whole does not feel like that as much.

"Diadem In 12 Stars" is a decent start-off point for Wolves in The Throne Room. Already received a cult status among the lovers (non-purists) of the genre, this debut release is a promising one, and clearly the promises the band gave here came true later on in 2007 (one year later) with "Two Hunters".

Report this review (#751155)
Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The debut album by Wolves In the Throne Room might not be quite as startlingly different as the likes of, say, Celestial Lineage, but the seeds of their more original sound were sown here. Focusing exclusively on longer compositions, the band alternate between faster playing and slower, doomier sections, with a few hints of the complex compositional techniques of post- metal creeping in here and there, and on the whole the band have already done a good job of distinguishing themselves from Burzum, their primary musical influence. Although the band would go onto substantially greater things, this is the solid foundation on which their subsequent work is built.
Report this review (#760532)
Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | Review Permalink

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