Wolves In The Throne Room
"Two Hunters"

(Southern Lord 2007)Wolves In The Throne Room - Two Hunters

Nobody can accuse Wolves in the Throne Room of being "false" black metal. Living in the woods of Washington, the band sees black metal as communing with natural life, and treat their music as an extension of their earthy beliefs. Listening to "Two Hunters," one would be hard pressed to argue this. Recorded on tape, the album is completely without orchestration and shows no sign of Pro Tooling or any of the other red flags of falseness that black metal purists flame bands on message boards over.

Beginning with an ethereal, buzzing curtain of noise, the album soon drops into the blast furnace of "Vastness and Sorrow." Over ten straight minutes of tremolo picking burrow into the listener's brain; relenting only when the song ends and the dark folksy opening of "Cleansing" wafts in. Ghostly vocals by Jessica Kinney swarm around a drum beat tailor made for enjoying cigarettes of the "natural" variety. Breaking in suddenly is about five minutes of even more furious trem picking, driving drums, and Rick Dahlin's unholy shriek. The album wraps with the twenty minute "I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots," which by itself is worth the price of admission. This is where WITTR come the closest to actually riffing a few times, surrounded by the usual barrage of picked notes.

The album works because of the seamless transitions of notes and tempo, the latter being attributable to Aaron Weaver's highly effective, if maybe a tad sloppy, drum work. Not that sounding dirty is a bad thing, as the production is muddy enough not to raise eyebrows, although I would prefer the guitars to be a little louder in the mix. "Two Hunters" is best listened to straight through beginning to end, as it grows and twists organically like the roots of some crazy tree in a Tim Burton film. Wolves in the Throne Room have birthed one, if not the, "trooest" black metal albums of the year.

B+

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