Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wolves in the Throne Room

Black Cascade (04.09, Southern Lord)

Byline: Strictly Analog. The My Bloody Valentine of Post-Black Metal

For: Pyramids, Isis, Scandinavian Black Metal, um, Aldo Leopold

My knowledge and tolerance for anything labeled "Metal" is pretty limited and hard won. So most everything that I seek out in the realm of metal is either highly praised or carries some sort of qualifier like "post" or some other catch all phrase. What I like, however, I latch onto and bask in every future hearing impairment chord and blast beat until my ears ache and I realize I have the TV way too loud and the neighbors are probably pissed. Black Cascade is an album that I has not left my ears for a solid week now. I'm not sure what it is I love about it. There is a certain mystique surrounding Wolves in the Throne Room's personna. Journalists love to speculate about their embodiment of neo-pagan earth-first consciousness that promotes rumors of living in huts in the rural Northwest and things like that. There is a certain straight forward purity when WITR are in their top form, playing blistering straight forward metal that leaves you awash in a pure sea of noise that I experience listening to My Bloody Valentine. WITR leaves your standard blast beats in place while experimenting with the tremolo picking of post-rock bands such as Explosions in the Sky and Mono to the downtuned heaviness of drone-metal pioneers Earth and Sun0))). When WITR hit their stride and then stop everything to play a restrained break down with acoustic guitars and floating wordless vocals with the buzz of a downtuned guitar floating, wrapping everything in it's shimmering beauty, only to be launched into another aural onslaught...ah, these are moments I want to live in. Forever. Even the coldest Scandanavian winters can't hide from the warmth of analog recording.

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