Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Wolves In The Throne Room "Thrice Woven" (2017)

Hailing from Olympia Washington, the Weaver brothers offer us their sixth full length release since forming the band back in 2003. It is their first Black Metal release in six years given that their last, Celestite, was an electronic astral ambience piece and is also the only record of theirs Ive heard before this one, so I go into this one with fresh ears and an appetite for the rich and soothingly dark atmosphere in store.

Thrice Woven hasn't formed a particular vision in my mind, instead different shades and tones illuminate the passing of time as the temperate becomes tempered into different forms. Although the shifts in sound have some flow, they measure against one another with distinctions that remind me fondly of other artists. "Born From The Serpant's Eye" has echos of Panopticon with its folk like undercurrent, resonating in the buried, sombre melodies that have cultural inflections. That opening passage transitions into traditional darkness, shredding fast riffs under pummeling blast beats before breaking for a quieter, calmer interlude. Eventually it finds its way to the passing of sludgy, mammoth guitar riffs wailing demonic groove under a howling scream of evil, a real highlight in the record.

Consisting of five tracks, the flow disrupting interludes really make it feel like a couple of songs were unnecessarily stitched together although the lyrics may offer some context there. The featuring of sublime female vocals in two melancholy interludes have such a spellbinding quality that the records angle is transformed entirely in these moments as we are lifted from the darkness to another realm of beautiful moonlit wonder. "Angraboda" has this interruption too, although made memorable by an awful inclusion of guitar feedback, it cuts into an eerie silence marked by a lonely melody similar to that of Burzum before returning to Metal, bouncing a slow plodding riff between a colossal scaling riff that ascends with median blast beats. "The Old Ones Are With Us" again has a familiar distinction, its opening passage with shimmering, lonely melodies reminiscent of I Shalt Become.

My favorite moment comes on the closing track with its utterly menacing "breakdown", half time drums, the crashing of some hideous cymbal screaming away under slow, punishing, sludgy guitars makes for a memorable moment in a record loaded with good music. Unfortunately it doesn't come together with a grander sense of self. All the shifts in tone and intensity don't amount to a bigger picture or even progress with a sense of direction, instead it feels like a string of musical ideas pulling each other along. Its still a very enjoyable record but no one song felt commanding as a whole.

Rating: 6/10