A horrible hack

Wolves In The Throne Room

Celestial Lineage

Year Released: 2011
Format: CD
Label: Southern Lord
 
Reviewed by Gareth L on Jul 5, 2012
I'm not entirely convinced that this review will make or break the fortunes of these dudes, as they appear to be critically successful and accepted amongst both the corpse-painted loner weirdos and the Pitchfork-reading Liturgy fans. I've been into this band since their first record (no, really!) which helped kickstart my fondness for the dramatic, deliciously crafted style of black metal and helped me realise there was more to the genre than blastbeats and songs about being bloody freezing.

This is Wolves in the Throne Room's fourth album now and they show no signs of jumping the shark. The core of the band has not really changed; the head and heart are still full of sorrow and nature, but there is definitely evolution here as they continue to develop their sound. I remember getting a Wolves... album a few years ago and there was a sticker on the front describing it as 'cleansing' which at first I thought was a bizarre word to use but actually kind of makes sense.

On this album more than any previous work there is more experimentation - sad solos, more female vocals, synths and introspective minimalism - but it all works coherently, and the reason for that is the atmosphere that this creates, which has been present since that first album. In the past I've called out bands for using unnecessary 'bridges' between songs, sub-2 minute ambient passages that don't add anything to the album but here everything compliments eachother superbly - the way 'Permanent Changes in Consciousness' leads into 'Subterranean Initiation' is breathtaking.

Wolves in the Throne Room are the kind of band I have no interest in reading interviews with, because the music stands alone and to hear explanations about early influences and listening to Venom would detract from that. Check out 'Astral Blood' if you need any further persuading. Best to get the record, sit back with headphones on, and emerge three quarters of an hour later perhaps not cleansed but certainly restored.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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