In Rotation: Wolves in the Throne Room’s ‘Celestial Lineage’


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No two words will raise the hackles of the corpse-painted set like “Hipster Metal,” but Wolves In The Throne Room has long earned recognition from well beyond the sepulcher of genre orthodoxy. The band, a duo from Washington State brothers Nathan and Aaron Weaver, pairs a kind of pagan naturalist spirituality with the unholy sonics of misanthropic ‘90s Norwegian ancestors like Burzum. But the band’s ear for spooky synthetics and compositional grace sets them apart.

With “Celestial Lineage,” out next month on the L.A. label Southern Lord, they wrap up a trilogy of LP’s – starting with 2007’s sprawling “Two Hunters” and 2009’s more vicious “Black Cascade” -- that won over scores of fans of adventurous, noisy guitar music from outside their niche. But they still abide by black metal principles – sixteenth-note kick drum and guitars that sound as if doused in butane and set afire. The album’s centerpiece may be the surprisingly delicate transition from Nathan Weaver’s shrieks to the pristine, almost sacred soprano vocals from scene staple Jessika Kenney on the aching, liturgical “Woodland Cathedral” -- certainly one of few black metal tracks to debut on NPR.

Wolves in the Throne Room

“Celestial Lineage”

(Southern Lord)


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--August Brown