Rage and Frustration

Heavy Metal Reviews & Interviews

Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven

Band – Wolves In The Throne Room

Album – Thrice Woven

Country of Origin – USA

Genre – Cascadian Black Metal

Release Date – September 22nd, 2017

Label – Artemesia Records

Author – Hayduke X

Long a leader of a particular regional variation of US black metal, Wolves in the Throne Room have come to transcend the very style they were instrumental in creating. Let me back up a bit first, as I’d like to consider a couple of ideas before we start talking about the actual music. First, a brief discussion of the band name itself. Wolves, of course, can be seen to represent the natural world. They are dangerous, but also great examples of survival. They have a set of skills to survive in solitary ways, but also a set of skills to collaborate with other wolves for the sake of survival. They live within the cycle of the earth, not without. And then, there’s the throne room, the seat of man’s power. Made by men’s hands, not formed by natural processes, a throne represents imposition upon nature. I have always felt the band’s name represented an implicit threat that man would one day be overcome again by the natural world, and I for one, revel in that idea. Second, the album title. Though I am not Wiccan, I have read enough about it that the term Thrice Woven brought to mind the three-fold law. This law carries the idea that we will receive back three-fold what we give out, whether for good or ill. I have no idea if WITTR practices or knows anything about Wicca, but they clearly side with the natural world. Now, onto the music.

I wish I had more time to listen to Thrice Woven before writing this, but I’m already more than a week after release. As always, the album is massive and many layered. There is so much going on, it’s hard to know where to start. My initial impression is that the albums falls somewhere between the beauty and grandeur of Celestial Lineage and the harsh aggression of Two Hunters. We’re talking about degrees of difference here, as all WITTR albums have both. I name those two specifically as they are my two favorites. Thrice Woven, while excellent, doesn’t quite hold up, at least not yet. Repeated listens may change that. The four tracks (Mother Owl, Father Ocean is more of an interlude) feature what you’d expect: lots of mournful tremolo picking, lots of aggression, harsh vocals, clean, near chanted vocals, blasting galore, subtle, mood setting keys. It is the particular mix that changes the formula a bit. Perhaps that’s where part of my complaint comes in. Metaphorically speaking, instead of producing a new, previously unseen green, they mix a different shade from the palette they have used in the past. These are quibbles, mind you. In the final analysis, Thrice Woven is probably one of the top five black metal albums of the year. I was just hoping it would be undeniably the best.

Recommendation:  Do I need to tell you? WITTR is one of those rare transcendent bands that you always support.

Rating:  4.5/5