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Wolves In The Throne Room - Black Cascade
31 March 2009

01. Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog
02. Ahrimanic Trance
03. Ex Cathedra
04. Crystal Ammunition

"Black Cascade" marks the third full length release from the Olympia, Washington based black metal band.

The album contains all the component parts those of you familiar with WITTR would expect. The tracks all easily clock in at epic length, with each of the four songs clearing the ten-minute mark. The band's trademark shimmering tremolo-picked riffs are ever present. There are also short quiet interludes with falling rain or winds to showcase the nature and weather of the Pacific Northwest that is so near and dear in the hearts of these Wolves.

While "Black Cascade" contains all the Wolvisms fans are familiar with, the album still finds some stylistic shifts. It seems to harken a bit more back to "old school" black metal. The vocals of Nathan Weaver seem both harsher and sharper than in prior works, as well as perhaps a bit louder in the mix.

As stated above, all the tangible aspects of the band's identity are present on this album, however, when compared against either "Diadem of 12 Stars" or "The Two Hunters" there does seem to be one intangible that is a bit lacking in their newest opus. While all the sonic components are in peak form, it just seems, for lack of a better term, that some of the magick is missing.

"Black Cascade" is an album fans of Burzum/Weakling-esque black metal will enjoy. If you are a fan of this band or similar artists, this is definitely worth your while even if it falls just a tad bit short of the lofty standards set by their preceding works.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Band profile: Wolves In The Throne Room
Album: Black Cascade


Written on 04.05.2009 by
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››


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jupitreas - 04.05.2009 at 02:35  
Nice concise review, nailing the quality of this release right on the head.
Krankheit - 04.05.2009 at 19:55  
Nice review indeed. An ok album, Diadem of 12 Stars is still their best IMO.
Talvi - 04.05.2009 at 22:55  
The EP they released this year is much better than this.
Galar - 04.05.2009 at 23:34  
Diadem of 12 stars is better but this deserves a 9...good review nonthe less
PazuzuSKOM - 04.05.2009 at 23:39  
Good review....but come deserve higher rating...its may be not original as "Two Hunter", but i guess its better than it

BitterCOld - 05.05.2009 at 00:28  
Fwiw, in regards to my rating being "low" - my average album score is 7.8.

S.K.O.M.'s is a half point higher at 8.3, and Galar averages nearly a 9 (8.93) on album scores... so within the context of our own personal rating spectrum, we pretty much value this album about equally. It's "average" compared against our ratings of other albums.
Smurfkiller - 05.05.2009 at 18:51  
Written by Talvi on 04.05.2009 at 22:55

The EP they released this year is much better than this.

That's is because it has more hipster apeal.
Talvi - 06.05.2009 at 16:01  
Written by Guest on 05.05.2009 at 18:51

Written by Talvi on 04.05.2009 at 22:55

The EP they released this year is much better than this.

That's is because it has more hipster apeal.

Yeah probably I'm a fucking hipster. But "normal" black metal bores me anyway.
Doc Godin - 08.05.2009 at 06:10  
I hope to see more reviews like this in the future, you really cut through the shit and got to the point, making it nice to read.

About the album. I enjoyed it quite a bit from what I've heard, the lack of a bottom end starts to get grating after a while, but thats something I guess one should come to expect with black metal. Definitely need to give it a better listen though, 10 minute black metal songs can be a big bite to chew if your not in the right mood.
Janne - 09.05.2009 at 14:07  
It's the first WITTR album I have and I liked it! This is 'black metal' for me.
MLSilbernagel - 11.05.2009 at 09:00  
Good review mate; though I wouldn't have docked them so much for originality or production.
Doc Godin - 11.05.2009 at 10:51  
Written by MLSilbernagel on 11.05.2009 at 09:00

though I wouldn't have docked them so much for originality or production.

7 is a good mark. 8 is great.....BitterCOld, you wanna finish up this lecture?
BitterCOld - 11.05.2009 at 22:32  
No point, really. SSDD. taking out the hatchet job on "As I Lay Dying" and the average score is 8.95...

for the most part i just roll my eyes now when people who think everything is "brilliant" quibble about scores.

i'll store the bitterness up for another couple months then unleash some cathartic tirade somewhere on the forum...
Elio - 13.05.2009 at 17:14  
I agree, the Ep is no doubt better than this.
BudDa - 28.12.2009 at 09:11  
Compared to their past releases, this might be somewhat lacking but compared to alot of black metal releases in 2009, this is in contention for black metal album of the year..I found it that good.
Ellrohir - 12.02.2010 at 14:49  
So far i only listened once to this, because i want that interested to give another try...maybe one day...
Lord_Regnier - 13.02.2010 at 15:25  
It's not a bad band but I don't enjoy them enough to buy their albums.
Boxcar Willy - 20.10.2010 at 21:38  
These must be long songs if theres only 4 songs... looks good though if i find it cheap ill buy it.
BitterCOld - 20.10.2010 at 21:45  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 20.10.2010 at 21:38

These must be long songs if theres only 4 songs... looks good though if i find it cheap ill buy it.

i mentioned something in the review about all four songs clocking in around the 10 minute mark... so while it has only 4 tracks, it's longer than a lot of classic thrash, death, and black metal albums.
Paradox0 - 01.05.2012 at 23:38  
The magic that is missing from this album is how the album just doesn't seem to be as inspired by nature as Two Hunters, and later, Celestial Lineage were (sorry folks, havn't listened to Diadem of 12 Stars...yet). For the sake of simplicity Two Hunters was often times atmospheric black metal much like Black Cascade, but despite the chaos of the tremelo picking, the melodies played progressed similarly to tree branches being blown with the wind. Don't believe me, walk through the woods listening to Two Hunters, and you'll hear how the melodies progress like that.

Two Hunters also did a better job at making us hate modernity, despite not being as straight forward as Black Cascade. Many songs started with an allusion of nature (without actually sampling sounds from it) whether it was a synthesizer or the opening melodies, often times in conjunction with Aaron's chaotic (if not sloppy) drumming, giving the image of man's work slowly encroaching, murdering, and destroying nature. Sometimes we just got blasts of black metal but we still had that image of nature. In Black Cascade, I feel, that man has won, the woods are destroyed, pavement covers everything, the waters are enslaved and black in polution, and whatever "nature" is left are but prisoners and a mockery of nature due to man's obsession with control.

However so it still does not feel as unique as their previous work, if not feeling like an artistic step backwards for Wolves. Maybe they are proving something to themselves but is not really what the fandom they've established necessarily come to expect. It's like Static-X's "Start a War, or Cradle of Filth's "Nymphetimine" (I know its blasphemy to compare WitTR to these two bands but read me out); both bands stripped down their sound to essentially their "core" band and removed the electronic/symphonic elements from their music, being rather big disappointments for fans of both bands. The album pretty much jumps into absolute pure misanthropy and anger and never really lets up. Luckily they seemed to learn their lesson in Celestial Lineage IMO.
Oaken - 19.05.2012 at 00:43  
Crushingly depressive. I don't know why, but this really sounds much, much darker than Two Hunters and Celestial Lineage.

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