Review: Wolves in the Throne Room - Diadem of 12 Stars (2006)

By fragile dreams on 10:27 PM 26 June 2006

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Wolves claim inspiration from the "mystical witch ideology" of the Olympian forests (a Googling only revealed news stories about a woman robbing banks dressed as a witch, but I don't doubt the mythology exists), and the imagery on the disc adheres to that.

The four songs, shrouded in a just-slightly-cleaner version of black metal's usual lo-fi production, range from 13 to 20 minutes.For many of those minutes, the band sticks to the genre's typical facets. An impenetrable wall of wailing instruments is set to a rhythm that alternates from blindingly fast to a slow crawl, and the vocals, mixed low, are desperate rasps peppered with bestial growls. But it's the inclusion of folk and goth that separates Wolves in the Throne Room from the pack, breaking up the madness with moments of poetic clarity.Opener "Queen of the Borrowed Light" is a relentless assault for the first five minutes. But seemingly out of nowhere, the distortion gives way to quiet, clean picking and atmospheric keyboards, ushering in the song's second act. "Face in the Mirror (Part 1)" introduces witch-inspired, gothic female vocals provided by Hammer of Misfortune's Jamie Myers. But after another brief acoustic folk interlude, the band erupts again into familiar territory with dizzying speed and demonic howls.

Those who aren't familiar with this style of music might find it hard to see the beauty that is here, and the songs' epic lengths certainly don't invite new listeners. But art doesn't have to be pleasant to be pretty, nor easy to be enjoyable, and "Diadem of 12 Stars" is a dark, haunting piece that's as gorgeous as it is ugly.

Rating: 82/100

1 comments for this post

Although I don't like black metal...this group is an exception. Nice melodies and althougth the songs are huge they are very good and you can easily listen to them. Nice album.

Posted on 27/6/06 10:54  

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