|Review: Wolves in the Throne Room - Primordial Arcana|
Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 2021
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: September 11, 2021
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4/5 (80%) (6 Votes)
I thought 2017's Thrice Woven was a sign that this band was getting back on track after the major disappointment of Celestite, and I was hoping a new album so quickly was a further good sign. Sadly, that seems not to be the case. This band has had a time of it, always chasing after the burst of innovation that marked their early albums and trying to keep ahead of their many imitators without losing their signature sound.
Primordial Arcana is not exactly bad, but it is clearly the sound of this once iconoclastic act selling out more than a little bit. Rather than the epics of yore, here we get a disc of songs that are almost all short, save for one ten-minute epic with "Masters of Rain and Storm". With this disc, the Wolves have dumbed down their sound just enough to appeal to the people who always thought they were too pretentious. Rather than the massive, rolling soundscapes filled with subtle shades of melody and atmosphere, here each song is much more direct, more slickly produced, and less interesting. The songs are not very ambitious, and they all kind of sound alike, so by the halfway mark this album seriously drags. This isn't terrible, but it is pretty dull, as none of the songs really do anything unexpected or interesting, and this album sounds more like a band of imitators trying to sound like Wolves in the Throne Room, rather than the band itself. Disappointing.
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