Wolves In The Throne Room
"Black Cascade"

(Southern Lord 2009)Wolves In The Throne Room - Black Cascade

For reasons that are beyond the grasp of my reckoning, Wolves in the Throne Room have become one of the pet bands for hipsters during their recent "discovery" of black metal. Nothing about the band's music or lifestyle syncs up with everyone's favorite verbal punching bags. WITTR play what they describe as transformative black metal, and brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver live on and operate a farmstead in their Washington state hometown; this is about as far removed as one can possibly imagine from the trendy, urban douchebaggery that hipsters like to involve themselves in. So what, besides providing a cute opening paragraph, does this have to do with the band's music? Nothing. And that's the point. Because it's about the music, not other assorted random bullshit, which is damn lucky for Wolves in the Throne Room.

The Wolves weave a mesmerizing tapestry of raw yet atmospheric black metal. They sway between bile-fuel blast furnace and introspective haze easily, without sounding forced or artificial. "Ex Cathedra," for instance, morphs from a sheet of grooving guitar-driven tumult to a cosmically dreamy soundscape so seamlessly it may actually go unnoticed for a few seconds. This is a credit to the album's ability to be hypnotic and trance-inducing without fading totally into the background; it's easy to picture just sacking out and getting lost in the ebb and flow of the music. "Black Cascade," like 2007's "Two Hunters," has a very natural feel, and could almost be seen as one fifty minute track broken into four movements. This latest one, though, is way more magisterial; the mid-song climax of "Ahrimanic Trance" is the ever-expanding blowout of a star going supernova.

"Black Cascade" is a heady musical journey from a band that at times is known more for their followers than their music. I don't care who listens to Wolves in the Throne Room, you shouldn't care who listens to Wolves in the Throne Room, and one suspects the band could literally not care any less who listens to them. Because it doesn't matter who name-checks a band or what kind of idiots pack their shows, as long as the music moves you. And Wolves in the Throne Room have it where it counts.

A-

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