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Review: Wolves in the Throne Room - Diadem of 12 Stars
Wolves in the Throne Room
Diadem of 12 Stars

Label: Vendlus Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 60:09
Tracks: 4
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: December 2, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.87/5 (77.45%) (47 Votes)

There are albums you listen to, and you nod along and think 'huh, this is pretty good.' And then there are albums like this one, where halfway through the first track you are just sitting, all else forgotten, with your jaw hanging in your lap and your eyes glazed in amazement. This is one of those albums. At first I was wondering who in the hell this band was, and after one spin, the answer was: the best damned Black Metal band in the US. These guys supposedly live in some kind of off-the-grid enclave in Washington state where they grow their own food and such like. I don't know if that's bullshit or not, and I don't care, because this is so awesome its origins are completely irrelevant.

How do I describe this album? There's nothing especially revolutionary about it, it's just amazingly well-written and atmospheric Black Metal suffused with the feel of deep forests and dark winters. Every song on this disc is like a journey carried across a frozen landscape by rolling, epic riffs that turn from mournful to triumphant in a way that is stirring and emotionally satisfying. The guitars weave harmonies around each other, sometimes together, sometimes diverging into dissonance or counterpoint. There's little or no blasting here, and little in the way of screaming. The vocals are harsh, but mixed coequal with the other sounds to form a single wave of sound. This is a very live-sounding recording, with none of the hallmarks of digital processing. These songs are long, all over 13 minutes, but none of them are repetitive or dull, not even a little.

Here I am grasping at words to say, when there are none. I'm trying to describe the way this album makes me feel, and words fail me, because it makes me feel so much at once: sad, proud, lonely, free, strong. This is what Black Metal is all about, this is the kind of powerful, moving music the genre can create when it frees itself from the expectation of convention and reaches for something greater. Diadem Of 12 Stars is just magnificent, and no other Black Metal album this year will match it. For majesty, atmosphere, and sheer creative brilliance, Wolves In The Throne Room stand alone. Essential for anyone who cares about Black Metal.

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