Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice Woven review




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Reviewer:
6.0

64 users:
7.80
Band: Wolves In The Throne Room
Album: Thrice Woven
Release date: September 2017


01. Born From The Serpent's Eye
02. The Old Ones Are With Us
03. Angrboda
04. Mother Owl, Father Ocean
05. Fires Roar In The Palace Of The Moon


It's been quite the journey for Wolves In The Throne Room over the past six years. After releasing the epic, brilliantly composed Celestial Lineage in 2011, they chose to follow it up not with more of their epic, transcendent black metal, but with a full fledged ambient album, the polarizing Celestite from 2014. Three years later, the band are going back to their roots, conjuring forth the black metal magic yet again.

But alas, if only one could really call it "magic." Such a label almost feels improper with Thrice Woven, for as the opening "Born From The Serpent's Eye" nears its completion, something begins to feel noticeably wrong here. Something is incomplete. Something is missing. Something just overall feels considerably different than previously, and not in a good way. Yes, it's black metal, alright, replete with thundering drums, pounding riffs, and the recognizable snarls of Nathan Weaver. And hell, around the 4 1/2 minute mark on the aforementioned track, we've even got some of those majestic, choir-like female vocals that enter the picture, exactly like on previous albums such as Two Hunters and Celestial Lineage So why exactly does the music on Thrice Woven feel so... off, as though it's really lacking much of an impact?

The songwriting. It's definitely the songwriting that has gone significantly downhill with this album. Really it's the guitars that draw the most attention. Previously on WITTR albums (and indeed, this was a big part of what made their music so alluring and mystifying), the Weavers would intricately play around each other, that is to say, one brother would sort of lay down some kind of foundational, chord-based rhythms, while the other weaved more dreamlike, airy melodies around him. This is simply not what happens on Thrice Woven, as the large majority of time the guitars are just playing the exact same thing, resulting in a blatantly different sound that's more monotonous, repetitive, and honestly just... not as interesting. Thankfully this rather dull approach is augmented slightly by some more epic, atmospheric breaks, such as the little acoustic guitar interlude on "The Old Ones Are With Us," or the opening of "Angrboda," but when these moments appear, since they often feel unsustained and even a little forced, the impression they leave is rather fleeting.

Production-wise too, Thrice Woven suffers from coming off as a bit too clean. This may come as a surprising comment, as WITTR never really employed that dirty "made in your uncle's wood shop garage" type of black metal production to begin with, but still, with earlier albums, especially the debut and Two Hunters, there was always a bit of a hazy, floating type feeling to the music. Somehow, some way, WITTR managed to shroud their music in a thick, Cascadian mist that worked wonders towards making it more dense and dreamlike. On Thrice Woven, this take to the production is for the most part gone, making the music feel more polished, and devoid of that dreamlike mist. This may seem like a small issue to raise, but a lot of the times with albums the presence or absence of a certain production aspect ends up making a huge difference. Listening to Thrice Woven, the music sounds a lot closer to some of the overproduced atmospheric black albums coming out these days than to the black metal that WITTR had been dishing out previously.

With Thrice Woven, it is almost impossible to not make a comparison to the earlier work of Wolves In The Throne Room, simply because the drop in quality from that work is so blatant. The heavier moments are less impressive, the atmospheric moments are less impressive, and on the whole the album feels more like a rather generic byproduct of contemporary atmospheric black metal than like a genuine WITTR album. Personally I find it very hard to believe that this is the best the band can produce, and for the moment I'll thus be sticking with their other five albums and hoping that whatever may come next manages to bring back the superior black metal that I know these guys are capable of.

A misstep, in my book, but one that I'm sure many others will enjoy. Listen here.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Production: 6


 



Written on 13.10.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 97 users
13.10.2017 - 00:54
Marcus
Doit Like Bernie
I hate that I agree, since I was excited for this album when it was first announced. Hell, I'm one of the few people who really liked Celestite, so even more ambient/ambient-influenced music would have been great. Instead, I'll probably never listen to this again.
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13.10.2017 - 01:00
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Marcus on 13.10.2017 at 00:54

I hate that I agree, since I was excited for this album when it was first announced. Hell, I'm one of the few people who really liked Celestite, so even more ambient/ambient-influenced music would have been great. Instead, I'll probably never listen to this again.

I'm also a Celestite lover and at this point I seriously wouldn't mind the Weavers ending WITTR and just exploring that sound more with a new band
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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13.10.2017 - 03:53
Bad English
Masterchief
You seems to be super fan if you can write such review, to me its brilliant album, nothing missing there at all.
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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13.10.2017 - 04:38
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Bad English on 13.10.2017 at 03:53

You seems to be super fan if you can write such review, to me its brilliant album, nothing missing there at all.

I must admit, if it had been released by another, younger band, I probably would like it much more. But there's just no escaping the feeling of "damn, this is the same band that did Diadem Of Twelve Stars and Two Hunters?" with this one. Compared to what's come before, it's definitely missing something
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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13.10.2017 - 21:17
JēkabsFiļi
Written by Bad English on 13.10.2017 at 03:53

You seems to be super fan if you can write such review, to me its brilliant album, nothing missing there at all.


You're comletely right because music is not about production, songwriting, originality and whatsoever other bullshit. It's only about feeling. And there Thrice Woven is almost as strong as Diadems, Hunters and Cascade were and way much better that Celestial Lineage and Celestite.
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13.10.2017 - 21:21
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by JēkabsFiļi on 13.10.2017 at 21:17

Music is not about production, songwriting, originality and whatsoever other bullshit. It's only about feeling

Yeah, ya know, these are all vital factors that ultimately go into creating that "feeling" you're talking about
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
Loading...
13.10.2017 - 21:25
JēkabsFiļi
Written by Apothecary on 13.10.2017 at 21:21

Written by JēkabsFiļi on 13.10.2017 at 21:17

Music is not about production, songwriting, originality and whatsoever other bullshit. It's only about feeling

Yeah, ya know, these are all vital factors that ultimately go into creating that "feeling" you're talking about


not necessarily, you know everything can be great (and novadays often it is ) but you really don't like album. Most often (for me at least 80%) , while yawning, the only word that comes to my mind is - booooooooring.
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13.10.2017 - 23:47
Malignar
Good review, I agree on all points. I'm not a big fan and even I can tell this is uninspired.
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14.10.2017 - 00:40
OpethFlames
Yes the production is cleaner, but I feel it doesn't detract from the atmosphere. It took me many listens for this album to click with me. Now I truly love it, It's right there with Diadem and Black Cascade as their best IMO.
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