From rainy, foggy Sunderland in the UK comes the second full-length album from Wodensthrone, and to say the three-year wait between releases was worth it would be an understatement. Sporting an overall fuller sound and much more mature songwriting, Curse is everything that made their debut album Loss a pleasure to ingest and then some.

The guitars of Rædwalh and Wildeþrýð are still razor-sharp and chilling as ever, but the better, slightly cleaner production on Curse give them added vigor and energy. Whether it’s the proper album opener “Jormungandr” that shears the skin off the listener’s face or the haunting, sorrowful closing chords of “The Name of the Wind”, the English duo take no prisoners with their frantic and savage displays.

Regardless of whether the songs on Curse are hammering the listener with blistering speed or a deadly, slow crawl, the ante has been upped for this style of black metal. Similar to fellow countrymen Winterfylleth and their remarkable The Threnody of Triumph release a few weeks back, Wodensthrone has crafted an album full of well-balanced and expertly-crafted atmospheric black metal.

It was intriguing to see how Wodensthrone would perform without lead singer Brunwulf, who departed in 2011, but Rædwalh and Wildeþrýð, who performed backing duties on Loss, fill the void perfectly. Whether the band is better off vocally without Brunwulf is simply a matter of taste, but the music and overall feel of Curse trumps everything Wodensthrone has created previously.

Suffice it to say, Wodensthrone have outdone themselves with their latest release. It’s a whirlwind of primal black metal but, like the aforementioned Winterfylleth and a few others who lead this subgenre of metal, there is so much more to the music than barbaric guitars and blastbeats. Wodensthrone implement subtle tapestries of melodies and though the music initially comes off as bleak and rife with despair, the atmosphere at times is serene and beautiful. Wodensthrone has woven many different human emotions into each passage on Curse: sometimes anger and venom, sometimes misery and sadness, sometimes triumph and joy. What makes the music even more engaging is that you don’t necessarily pick up on these nooks and crannies immediately. Sometimes it will hit you in the face right off the bat; other times it may require several spins to unveil it all.

In the end, Curse is a splendid album and clearly one of the better releases of 2012. Though it’s unlikely that it’ll end up on this scribe’s year-end best-of list, it certainly will come close. It’s one of those albums that is better suited as a start-to-finish listening experience. There truly aren’t one or two tracks that stand out as keystones for the album; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Curse is definitely worth scooping up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
October 1st, 2012


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    good writeup; this will definitely be on my year-end list.

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