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Wolves In the Throne Room: Two Hunters

Sometimes you come across a new release that really moves you, that impresses on so many levels it's hard to really put into words just how groundbreaking and refreshing the album really is. Such is the case with Washington's avant-garde black metal upstarts Wolves In the Throne Room and their latest Two Hunters. Southern Lord Records have scooped these guys up now, and that's a major coup for them. After all, this band scored a breakthrough with their debut Diadem of 12 Stars last year, and anticipation was high among the black metal community for a follow-up. So, how does this one stack up? Well, the band is on a creative roll, I'll put it to you that way. Two Hunters is 46 minutes of bleakness, four songs that take you on atmospheric rides through desolate landscapes, as well as bash you over the head with raging brutality. Tracks like the gorgeous yet haunting "Cleansing", featuring guest singer Jessica Kinney, and "Dia Artio", are just drenched in cold ambience and atmosphere, with layered guitars and keyboards providing the chilling backdrop. The epic 12-minute "Vastness and Sorrow" is a scorching black metal beast, sure to please fans of early Emperor, Ulver, and Darkthrone, with juggernaut blast beats, rippling guitar riffs, keyboards, and psychotic vocal screams. On the near 19-minute "I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots", gentle acoustic guitar kicks things off before old school styled black metal hits you like a hammer, raging yet symphonic, with Kinney again putting in a guest vocal during the more mellow sections. Again, the band recalls Emperor on this one, circa 1994, as the arrangements are just beautiful, filled with power, majesty, and brutality, all combined together for a great effect that never gets tiresome over the tracks lengthy time frame.

This is breathtaking stuff folks. Wolves In the Throne Room are really on to something, as they are right now combining black metal, avant-garde, folk, and prog like no other acts on the scene. Two Hunters is going to do for modern black metal what Opeth's Ghost Reveries has recently done for progressive death metal. Outstanding!

Track Listing
1) Dia Artio (5:58)
2) Vastness and Sorrow (12:12)
3) Cleansing (9:55)
4) I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots (18:16)

Added: October 1st 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 8308
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Wolves In the Throne Room: Two Hunters
Posted by Hugh Dark, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-10-01 07:26:25
My Score:

Storming onto the scene in 2004 from Olympia, Washington (USA) W.I.T.T.R. has released two full length efforts; Diadem of 12 Stars and their current release on Southern Lord records, Two Hunters. This is melodic black metal highlighted with depressing dirges of emotional discord, with expertly crafted songs, both epic and grand. From the opening pull of the atmospheric instrumental "Dia Artio" you almost feel like your being absorbed by the most peaceful black night. When you arrive at the next track entitled "Behold the Vastness and Sorrow" you are simultaneously feeling mesmerized and menaced. The full introduction of the vocals ghostly screams bring a necro feel that is further developed by the wall of sound the band is so adept at making. At this point in the recording you are really feeling dread's expansive universe, to say the least. "Cleansing" begins with "cleanly performed" female (Jessica Kinney) vocals over some moody/atmospheric keyboards accompanied by some drumming almost tribal, but more softly played. You can't help but think…Is this really an American band? Anyway, the blast style drums come in after the 4:00 mark to bring this ritualistic exercise to full realization. This song feels almost like an understanding of one's purpose, finally brought to life. The band saves the best for last with the 18:16 epic "I will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots." Twisting and turning through sonic paths this song is perhaps, the most in keeping with the bands personal philosophy of complete, natural autonomy and condemnation of the trappings of the modern world. This band really provides a unique twist to "living off the land" without mining into the overworked 60's ethos and this song is resounding proof of the legitimacy and relevance of black metal as an artisan of social education and ultimately, art!!

» Reader Comments:

Wolves In the Throne Room: Two Hunters
Posted by Bobjones on 2008-04-30 01:14:33
My Score:

This is the most substantial Black Metal record to come out since the Norwegian classics of the mid nineties, and these guys manage to go spiritually (whatever that word really means, these guys are it) deeper than any rock band ever. Folks who love the paganism of Black Metal, but want something a bit more "mature" and substantial than black metal can typically offer should check this out immediately. I'd compare it to early Satyricon, only it's musically more interesting. Fucking Brilliant.

Wolves In the Throne Room: Two Hunters
Posted by Dimaenion X on 2007-11-13 12:37:27
My Score:

Both Diadems and Two Hunters are excellent examples of black metal that both reaches into the past and surges forth into the future, without becoming cliched or selling out.

Two Hunters has better production, but never becomes too sterile or pristine, ... it still maintains a raw quality.

I also prefer abstract themes and pagan lyrics instead of the usual childish "shocking Satanism".

Wolves In the Throne Room: Two Hunters
Posted by Bleak Harvest on 2007-09-12 15:34:50
My Score:

A really good review!

I just finished listening to it for the first time. "Wow" is all I can say for now. Do I prefer it to Diadem? Hard to say at this point -- but you're right. WitTR are on to something.

Wolves In the Throne Room: Two Hunters
Posted by Dream Fragments on 2007-09-05 16:29:35
My Score:

Excellent news. I just pre-ordered Two Hunters today actually, and I was really hoping that it would turn out just as good, if not better, than Diadem of 12 Stars. Thanks.

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