Thursday, 10 December 2015

Wolves In The Throne Room "Celestite" (2014)

Revisiting one of my favorite records from last year I found myself encapsulated in the mystic abyss that is "Celestite" again. Wolves In The Throne Room are an acclaimed American Black Metal band from Washington who never did much to catch my ear with their traditional sound, however this record, the bands fifth, marks a musical shift in style that may just be a "one off" or ambient record. A deep, dense, brooding guitar distortion lurking under the paranoid soundscape of "Initiation At Neudeg Alm" may be the only echo of their former sound as the group embark on mesmerizing plunge into the world of Dark Ambient and Drone music. In my experience these sorts of records are a niche in taste, they can easily turn you on or off with the nuances that make up the experience. In this case, everything here was primed for my taste, in the right mood one can get truly lost in these eternal soundscapes.

Drifting through the vast, colossal distances of space and time the twinkling of stars can be heard between the vicarious synths that breath in bursts of color and fade into the distance. These eerie and mystic flows of sound coarse past one another in a minimal environment that feels enriched by the quiet yet conjuring layers of intrepid synths that represent the infinite void. Its an experience of two half's, one facing the mysterious universe at its mercy and the other entrenching the spirit of evil with mean, brooding french horns and trumpets, orchestrating the feeling of a presence with a careful balance that lets no melody linger or feel prevalent. Each note works with the next to excite the imagination and paint the canvas with existential introspection in the face of vast nothingness.

The records second track dives deep into the evil, sinister side with thunderous and distant, deep droning distortions roaring alongside the sounds off descending planes and mischievous synths. Through it all the twinkling of the stars can be heard and slowly this heinous droning gives way to the abyss. After this the record continues on its haunting journey through the cosmos, droning and drifting seemingly forever, with only an inkling of evil returning on the title track.

The selection of synths and techniques used to create these sounds has been done with much care and inspiration. The compositions are lengthy, detailed, with many layers constantly working in tandem to maintain a grabbing atmosphere which plays out for 40 minutes through many progressions and drawn out moments that never make themselves to remarkable. The balance of melody and ambiance is sublime. The tunes playing the fewest of notes to whisper a tale, yet making no memorable mark, each time you are truly held into the songs moment.

Rating: 8/10