July 30, 2009

Wolves In The Throne Room - Black Cascade (2009)

This is the third full length album from the band, and it came out right on the heels of the vinyl-only release of Malevolent Grain ep. Malevolent Grain was a 2 song 12" ep which introduced the touring bass player, Will Lindsay (formally of Middian) as the full time guitar player. Black Cascade is the first full length album with the new guitar player, and it is really really really good. Black Cascade was recorded on 2-inch tape, and mixed with a 1973 Neve console by Randall Dunn.

are from Olympia, WA at the base of the Cascade Mountains. The band states that they "strive to create a mythic space where artist and listener alike could strip away the mindset of the mundane to reveal a more ancient and transcendent consciousness. The mysterious and wild energies of the untrammeled forests of the Northwest would be channeled into sonic form." I'm assuming from the title that the Cascade's played a part in this album, as a source of inspiration.

I got
WITTR's first album on a recommendation from a friend and dismissed it for some reason for almost a year. I put it back on the stereo for another listen, and completely fell in love with the band. The songwriting of their albums has always been amazing, and Black Cascade is no exception. The album has 4 songs, one for each side of the 2lp. 15 minute opus' pretty much rock my world. On Black Cascade, the songwriting seems to be a little bit more fluid, and complete. The first track, 'Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog' has a reoccurring riff that pops up in the album several times in each of the tracks. My favorite track on the album is 'Ex Cathedra', which opens up with the sound of wind passing through leaves, and fades into the melodic, but blistering riffs that truly put my mind somewhere else. The other two songs on the album are equally amazing. Each song has its own highs and lows, riffs and ambiance, and beauty and horror. The thing that I love about WITTR is their ability to make a beautiful song that really affects me emotionally, but still stays brutal enough to be considered extreme music. The music is able to make me feel like I should be walking through a forest listening to it, while the vocals have such a depressing tone to them that makes me feel like I should bury a knife in my chest. Its so fucking good.

If you don't own any WITTR, you need to get this album. If you own their other albums, you need to get this album. Each time I listen to it, I pick up on more and more. The warmth of the record because of its analog recording, and the content being cold as ice makes is so good to listen to.

"Black metal, by definition, creates a deep psychedelic wash by layering guitar and submerging melody in the chaos. This is one part of black metal that we will always stay true to." - Nathan Weaver.