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Wolves In The Throne Room - Two Hunters CD (album) cover


Wolves In The Throne Room


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.13 | 60 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Black metal has been around for quite some time now. Slowly forming and appearing in the 80's by precursors Venom, Celtic Frost and Bathory, this isolated sub-genre truly began to take place in Norway during the 90's with Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Burzum, Enslaved, Emperor and many others. It was the most controversial of them all. With church burnings, devotion to satanic ? on some cases, even fascist ? culture and most notably the murders of fellow black metal musicians, it has seen everything. Putting this controversy aside, some might say that it's a revolution that cannot be done once again, that it has witnessed its final curtains. But, are we certain about that? Is the torch still burning with strength or is it witlessly dying?

A band that might give you an answer, or even a proof that black metal is far from being extinct, is Wolves in the Throne Room, the newcomers of the USBM scene emerging from Olympia, Washington. Having released Diadem of 12 Stars in 2006 and most recently Black Cascade, let's go back a year or two with Two Hunters, an album that received, like their first one, accessibility and incredible hype. The album itself is a statement that black metal has come back in true form, but in a different perception.

This sub-genre is known for its typical blasphemy as mentioned earlier. However, these American environmentalists opt for the lifeless, merciful call of nature. These guys are creating homage to Mother Earth and to all of its glory? unfortunately, what is left of it. But, do not expect some political speeches from Greenpeace ? even though the band started from the famous activist group called Earth First! ? or so-called pro-"green earth" hippies. They are trying to capture its spirituality, its very essence. With Two Hunters, the task has been achieved with success.

The album starts with "Dea Artio", a curiously embracing track that is filled with restful ambiance and washed, almost cavernous sonorities by the eternal, restless keyboard atmospherics, the dreamy percussions and the slow, droning guitars. Atypical for a black metal band to start out slow, but rest assured that the band equipped itself with a fully- loaded arsenal. "Vastness and Sorrow" begins with a severing tremolo picking that is soon accompanied by blazing, merciless blast-beats and fuzzed, but also extremely vicious and feral riffs. Nathan Weaver ? guitarist and vocalist of the band ? screams his heart out. In fact, his voice can even be compared to Varg Vikernes from Burzum, but more inclined, elevated and intense in his range. You can instantly recognize the typical traits of black metal in this song. It resumes it. But, the atmosphere is even far greater than something you would hear in the band that was mentioned before. These guys appear to do it naturally, proper to its main theme since they don't rely on Pro-Tools and expensive, easily disposable equipment. It's a great advantage if you ask me because they really did capture the feel on this entire album thanks to that aspect. In other words, production wise, you won't be disappointed by this if you like your black metal crude, but at the same time well- executed and tolerable. "Cleansing" comes next and shows that Wolves in the Throne Room, beside all that I mentioned earlier, are willing to open themselves musically and experiment once in a while. Beautiful, clean female vocals ? courtesy of Jessica Kenney ? make their apparition on this song and they fit the "décor" perfectly. Her voice is magic, trance-inducing. Tribal percussions, relaxing resonance from the keyboards and choral passages appear progressively after the small, ambient opening. It's almost as if the song was meant to be ritualistic. It is, but after this, don't count on that in the rest of the song. Seething, ferocious riffs, inhuman, repetitive blast-beats and the snarling vocals appear altogether. The album ends with "I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots", a dreary, yet peaceful eighteen-minute finale that can make you float around nature's vast grounds. Yet again, the guitars are as brutal and seething as before and Aaron Weaver's capacities as a drummer seem endless minute by minute. To make it short, he never stops playing his drums. Never!!! After six minutes, distortion comes underway and things change quite a bit. The riffs are more tedious, atmospheric and simply put mesmerizing. Like I said, no studio tricks and an amazing reverb, almost helical riff shows itself during this memorable passage. It's almost as if Isis were playing along with them in a deep, reclusive forest in Norway. At the end, things slow down and Jessica Kenney appears again with her powerful vocals to finish the album with beauty, proving the old saying that there is "calm after the storm" with the birds chanting and locusts whispering in the air.

To conclude, Wolves in the Throne Room might be the reference to what's left in the true spirit of black metal. Keeping their word as nature lovers, the album takes you to a spiritual journey and might make you remember the importance of what surrounds us. For me, this is the first album that has stunned me in black metal because of its ambiance for a long time since I listened to Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse, Blut Aus Nord's The Work Which Transforms God or even a completely different band like The Axis of Perdition and their album Deleted Scenes in the Transition Hospital. If you like atmosphere, trust me. This is a personal recommendation.

Standout tracks : Vastness and Sorrow and I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots

Kenosis_Theorician | 4/5 |


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