Wolves in the Throne Room - _Black Cascade_
(Southern Lord, 2009)
by: Kostas Sarampalis (9.5 out of 10)
Soon after the magnificent _Malevolent Grain_ EP, the collective known as Wolves in the Throne Room (henceforth WitTR) released their third full-length in _Black Cascade_, and it seems they can have the earth firmly under their feet for a very long time. If you, constant reader, have read my thoughts on this band's previous releases in these pages, you will know of my fondness for WitTR. It is not that their music is so brilliantly conceived and executed (which it is). It is not even that they separate the art from the artist to let it breathe its own life (which they do). It is that, for me at least, their music touches the very core of my senses.

_Black Cascade_ will take a wee longer to sink in compared to _Two Hunters_. While maintaining the four song format, with all songs between ten and fifteen minutes long, WitTR have almost perfected their aural textures, and the album feels more organic in pace. It is also more complicated and esoteric -- and this is in spite of the fact that it is more straightforward in tone than its predecessors. There are fewer moments where the aggression gives room to the calm ambience that was abundant before. No, this is one angry beast on a relentless and resolute chase. Rather than breaking it in its four distinct pieces, perhaps the listener is better served by consuming this album as a whole.

I like that all of their albums have character and individuality, and _Black Cascade_ is no different. Looking at their existing discography as a whole, I see a rather intricate progression that is not as linear as most bands'. And this has the potential to surprise, which is always a welcome attribute in music. The only thing that worries me is that at some point the band will reach their pinnacle and either retire at their peak or run out of ideas on how to progress their music -- and that would be a very sad day indeed. For now though, _Black Cascade_ is yet another stepping stone to WitTR's forest path to the edge of whatever rainbow they are chasing. Follow them with eyes firmly shut and senses wide open.

Contact: http://www.wittr.com/

(article published 3/7/2010)


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