|Review: Wolves in the Throne Room - Thrice Woven|
Label: Artemisia Records
Year released: 2017
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: October 10, 2017
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Technically it has only been three years since the last album from this band, but that was the all-ambient Celestite – and it was not metal, and not good either. So it has really been six years since the last "real" album by Wolves in the Throne Room, a band who redefined the Black Metal scene with their debut in 2006 and have since then struggled to stay at the forefront of the wave they created. To be honest, I was not sure we would hear from this band again. The waits between their albums used to be a year or two, so six was a bad sign, add in the crappy ambient album and a formal hiatus, and I thought that might be all she wrote.
Well, it was not, and here we have the sixth album from the Cascadian wolves, Thrice Woven. This band has always struggled to keep to their signature sound while not stagnating, and the results have been uneven at times, as here. Album opener "Born from The Serpent's Eye" is a very typical WITTR track, and while it's good, it doesn't do anything this band has not already done better. Second track "The Old Ones Are with Us" is much better, with a more bottom-heavy sound and songwriting that recalls their classic sound without copying it, and the intonation that opens the song just adds another layer to it, reminding me of some of the stuff Agalloch did when they got experimental.
The songwriting here reminds me a lot of their debut, with expansive arrangements and a lot of variety in the sounds. The songs go from fast tremolo harmonies to slow-churning riffs that are almost Doom-like. "Angrboda" in fact goes a bit too far with this, and the song drags. "Mother Owl, Father Ocean" is just a short instrumental with some sound effects, and then "Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon" comes charging out and kills everything in sight. This is the real highlight of the album, with heavy, inventive riffing and a lot of dynamic in the composition.
So overall this is a solid album from the Wolves. It's not on a par with their best work, but it has some real high points and proves they still have what it takes.
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