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Review: Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade
Wolves in the Throne Room
Black Cascade

Label: Southern Lord
Year released: 2009
Duration: 49:58
Tracks: 4
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 4, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Black Cascade

Rated 3.14/5 (62.78%) (36 Votes)

Third full-length for this band, who came out of nowhere in 2006 with Diadem of Twelve Stars and pretty much redefined US Black Metal overnight. I was of the opinion that the follow-up Two Hunters was not quiiiite as good, an opinion I still stand behind. My question, on getting this album was: can they keep this up? For all the organic innovation of their sound, it is a rather narrow formula, and I was concerned that the songwriting would begin to get stale. The EP Malevolent Grain was refreshing, and gave me real hope this band could continue to break new ground, but Black Cascade finds them treading water.

This is a strong album, starting out with the powerful, atmospheric "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog", "Ex Cathedra" is another strong point, with more involving melodies and a greater use of tension and build. It also has a slower, more ambient section in the center, and I actually really enjoy this band's ambient interludes, as they do them really well. "Ahrimanic Trance" is pretty good, but it starts with this loooong feedback squeal that makes me grimace every time. We all know that feedback squeals are the sign of a songwriter running short of ideas. "Crystal Ammunition" is good, but again, falls short of enthralling.

This is signature Wolves in the Throne Room material, but it just does not have the gripping power of the debut, nor the more aggressive joys of Two Hunters. The songs and melodies are good, but not as good, and a certain sameness creeps into the songwriting no matter how I wish it didn't. There is nothing substandard about this at all, but neither is there anything you have not heard done on the band's first two albums, and done better. Both Two Hunters and Malevolent Grain were more individual and adventurous. A solid entry in the band's discography, but not one of their high points.

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