Wolves in the Throne Room
Two Hunters

I’m sure anyone with even a passing interest in black metal is geeked for this release, especially considering how many years end lists the debut, Diadem in 12 Stars graced. Well, even with the horde of quality ambient/experimental black metal this year, from many of the genre’s bigger names (Leviathan, Deathspell Omega, Cobalt, Xasthur, Secrets of the Moon, Blut Aus Nord, etc), Two Hunters looks to again grace many ‘best of’ lists.

So here it is, 4 songs, 46 minutes of Pacific Northwestern, atmospheric, organic, misty black metal for intellectuals. And while it personally does not rise to the level of Diadem…, it is certainly is an enthralling and beautifully grim yet captivating album of eloquent, rainswept black metal.

After the epic ebb of the intro, “Dia Artio”, the next three tracks comprise over 40 minutes of the album and cover the expected elements of spirited blast beats, layered, shimmering urgency, damp atmospheric textures and a mystical elegance and beauty. Those latter moments are provided by the ethereal voice of Jessica Kinney (Avsa and Eyvind Kang) who provides the moments of angelic clarity during the last two tracks, “Cleansing” and the 18-minute “I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots.”

Musically, WITTR are not to far removed from the likes of Bergtatt era Ulver, Agalloch and more recently, Alcest in so much their take on black metal isn’t so harsh and cold , but a more natural, organic sound. If traditional black metal is the sound of harsh winds grating and howling against stern Scandinavian mountains, then WITTR is the soft crunch of wet leaves underfoot, the crackle of a fireplace and the wet, fine mist of dusk in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The three actual songs themselves need little dissection; this is black metal for connoisseurs, an experience that needs to be felt and uninterrupted. However, the sudden shift from angelic ambience to the jarring rasp to start “Cleansing” is an attention getter as is the lush and artful cascading climax of restrained closer “”I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots”, closing a fantastic album in appropriate style and grace.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
October 5th, 2007

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