The deep recesses of the American Pacific Northwest (Olympia WA) has given birth to one of the best up and coming new black metal bands in Wolves in the Throne Room; and their CD Diadem of 12 Stars should definitely find it's way onto many 'best of 2006' lists, mine included.
Diadem of 12 Stars is truly an epic piece of work from beginning to end. Over the course of approximately one hour, spread out over just 4 songs, Wolves in the Throne Room have managed to perfectly capture the true essence of what black metal is all about. Black metal is so much more than just evil song titles, makeup, and people calling for the annihilation of the world. Where so many bands fail through average, derivative musicianship and lo-fi production, Wolves in the Throne Room instead rely on their own environment and natural surroundings in which they live, to transcend the genre, thus seizing the eternal feeling of winter's loneliness and despair perfectly. The music is as it should be, it's harsh, uncompromising, especially as the guitars, with their sheets of sound attack, just explode into the forefront of the mix overtop some heavy and frenzied drum work. All of this is offset very nicely throughout all the tracks by acoustic, almost folky interludes, which injects feelings of introspection and melancholy, thus creating a perfect and balanced listening experience. Shifting tempos and lengthy drawn out passages keep the listener engaged throughout each song and while the vocals are for the most part generally your standard, scratchy demonic sounding delivery, there are female vocals present on 2 songs which add further depth to those tracks. The musical hybrid put forth by the band on this release actually takes them beyond the typical black metal tag and into another category completely. Where the band goes from here with their next release is anybody's guess, but if Diadem of 12 Stars is any indication, the journey will certainly be interesting to say the least and one to definitely look forward to.
1) Queen of the Borrowed Light
2) Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 1
3) Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 2
4) (A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem of 12 Stars