Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven (Artemisia)

Friday, 22nd September 2017
Rating: 8/10

Wolves in the Throne Room’s 2007 opus Two Hunters served as the ultimate career and sub-sub-genre jumpstart. Prior to that, Cascadian or “wooden” black metal was virtually nonexistent on these shores, relegated, or at least magnified by the Scandinavian hordes. Wolves hardly reinvented the black metal wheel with Two Hunters, but they displayed an uncanny knack for atmosphere and climax that was clearly missing over here. They haven’t come anywhere near Two Hunters since, with 2009’s Black Cascade, 2011’s Celestial Lineage and certainly 2014’s WTF-experiment Celestite falling short. Safe to say, with Thrice Woven, the band has at long last created the rightful successor to Two Hunters.

Part of that lends to the fact there’s no real mucking around across the five songs here. Sure, we get a Steve von Till appearance on “The Old Ones Are with Us,” but he’s speaking in his normal, measured tones. Wolves, however, have taken it upon themselves to lay out their once-specialized array of riff spreads, where their cavalcade of speed-picking and sideways, but somehow digestible chords take flight. Their certainly the main catch on opener “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” and the mountainous “Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon,” which is a by-the-book, headstrong flight into the heart of the black arts.

We could banter on as to why it took as long as it did for Wolves to write an album worthy of Two Hunters, but know this: the Weavers reserve the right to do as they please. As the first band out of the gate in the now far-flung Cascadian BM movement, Wolves in the Throne Room have spawned many a lesser band. On Thrice Woven, the band forcefully returns to their (tree-topped) perch.

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