Album Review- Celestial Lineage- Wolves in the Throne Room

   The genre term being tossed around to describe Wolves in the Throne Room is Cascadian Metal, and I think that label fits them very well.  When you listen to one of their albums you get a heavy dose of accents and audible images of trees, moss, plants, wildlife, and huge cascades all wrapped a style of metal that builds and builds upon itself creating dense and cascading moods and images.  It’s the kind of metal that you can really lose yourself in as the music has the ability to put the listener into a sort of meditative trance.  If forests listened to metal, Wolves in the Throne Room would be one of their favorite bands.

Celestial Lineage is the latest offering from the two Weaver brothers who make up Wolves in the Throne Room.  If you have heard any of their previous albums such as Diadem of 12 Stars or Two Hunters you know what you’re getting yourself into here, albeit Celestial Lineage is their style honed to a sharp, yet rusty(in a good way), edge.  For those not very familiar with the band they perform a style of music that is rooted in black metal with the tremolo picking and raspy Predator style vocals.  They also have a big influence in them from bands such as Neurosis where they create these songs that are long on the build up, texture, and layering and have the uncanny ability to really put the listener into a trance with some repetitive and droning sections.

On this album they break away from the four songs on an album structure and go with seven track on this release.  Two of the tracks are short mood building pieces that attribute to the flow of the album and the other five songs range from five and a half minutes to twelve.  But, this is one of those albums where it really should be looked at as a whole work and not individual songs.  This is an album of “moments” also.  Not meaning that only certain short moments are really good and the rest is moot, but often times the brooding build up sections serve to really give certain moments on the record a huge and powerful impact.  So as the listener is lost in the build up the release of the “moment” catches him and brings them back into the fold with force or sends them deeper into trance.

The music shifts from rather ethereal mellow instrumental parts to celestial heavier metal sections and each part really gives a feel of an image of nature.  Images and feelings of dark and damp caves, moss-covered forests, dense thickets, a bonfire in the forest, majestic waterfalls, and grass strewn huts were all images that were conjured up in my mind while listening and I think that many will experience some of the same.  There are sections with pounding tribal drums, sounds of passing winds rustling through trees, and the chanting of a wonderful female vocalist which really adds a huge impact to the overall nature feel to Celestial Lineage.

Celestial Lineage is the final chapter of a series of albums(Two Hunters and Black Cascade being the other two) and really does a great job of closing off the series by mixing the moods of the previous episodes and bringing everything to a huge finish.  There is the rawness of Two Hunters and the sharpness Black Cascade brought together, and if those two albums were the build up Celestial Lineage makes a great release.  That being said, I still find Two Hunters to be the best out of the three due to its innovation and being unlike anything I have heard before,  Celestial Lineage, while being honed and sharpened isn’t nearly as innovative as Two Hunters.

In the end I highly enjoyed Celestial Lineage, but it really isn’t the type of album that I would be able to listen to whenever, but when this album(along with their previous releases) hits you, it really hits you hard.  I had to be in a rather relaxed humor before the music really caught hold of me and worked great when I was heading into work in the morning and would be a great listen while traveling on a train or something similar through a heavily forested or nature filled area.  If you are a fan of Wolves in the Throne Room, black metal, and bands like Agalloch, Isis, and Neurosis this is a must check out.  For those interested in something different and the idea of nature themed metal interests you, I recommend giving Celestial Lineage a shot, but suggest checking out some of the music first before taking the plunge as this really isn’t the most accessible music in the world, but it is deeply rewarding and stunningly beautiful when you take the time to get into it.

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on September 16, 2011, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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