Wolves in the Throne Room - _Diadem of 12 Stars_
(Vendlus Records, 2006)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
Consider for a moment the triumvirate of Weakling, Ulver and, to a lesser extent, In the Woods. If what could possibly be described as the result of mixing certain characteristics of those bands with a few other influences fails to spark your interest, then Wolves in the Throne Room probably have little to offer you on _Diadem of 12 Stars_. The rest of you may well be in for one of the best black metal releases of the year.

While they do use female vocals, Wolves in the Throne Room do not play some kind of symphonic, gothicized, plastic-sounding black metal. This is all very guitar based, with a lot of melody but still somewhat raw, in the sense that it is not overproduced; a convincing instrumental barrage powered by intense drumming and throat piercing shrieks. Keyboards are used sparingly and remain firmly in the background for the duration of the four lengthy tracks on offer.

These Americans are clearly fond of their long blastbeat passages, but _Diadem of 12 Stars_ can still slow down into a doom crawl, change into acoustic guitar mode, or allow the aforementioned female vocalist to add an extra dimension to their aural spectrum. The blastbeats and instrumental passages occasionally get excessively drawn out though, which can become tiring. Wolves in the Throne Room never seem to be in a "more evil than thou" mood however: their black metal has as much evil in it as the forests and blizzards that probably inspire the musicians. This results in an aggressive album that is still unpretentious about exploring other musical paths, integrating everything into a cohesive whole.

_Diadem of 12 Stars_ may not quite reach the same level of brilliance as the best output of the trio I mentioned at the start of this review, but that would hardly be a fair expectation anyway; _Diadem of 12 Stars_ has enough character and quality to stand on its own, and promises a very interesting future for Wolves in the Throne Room.

Contact: http://www.wolvesinthethroneroom.com

(article published 26/9/2006)

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