WODENSTHRONE — Curse

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WODENSTHRONE - Curse cover
4.68 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2012

Tracklist

1. The Remaining Few (0:39)
2. Jormungandr (7:12)
3. First Light (11:17)
4. The Great Darkness (8:11)
5. Battle Lines (11:43)
6. Wyrgthu (9:45)
7. The Storm (6:09)
8. The Name Of The Wind (13:51)

Total Time 68:47

Line-up/Musicians

- Rædwalh / Guitars, Vocals
- Wildeþrýð / Guitars, Vocals
- Gerádwine / Bass
- Árfæst / Keyboards
- Hréowsian / Drums, Percussion

with

- Greg Chandler / Vocals on #8

About this release

Released by Candlelight Records, April 23rd, 2012.

Thanks to Wilytank for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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adg211288
Curse is the second full-length album by UK atmospheric black metal act Wodensthrone. The album was released in 2012, three years after the band’s debut album Loss (2009). Wodensthrone, like their countrymen Winterfylleth, belong to the nature themed division of black metal. Actually they have a lot in common with each other, Wodensthrone and Winterfylleth, as Wodensthrone’s vocalist/guitarist Wildeþrýð used to be with the other band and performed on the group’s debut album The Ghost of Heritage (2008), and both create atmospheric black metal to explore similar themes. Wodensthrone however, unlike Winterfylleth, set a much better impression with their 2012 offering than Winterfylleth did with The Threnody of Triumph, a decent but generally unmemorable album.

That’s something that’s pretty clear after just a single listen to Curse. On paper, the two bands are very much on the same page, but during the album Wodensthrone show themselves very much the superior band. Curse is atmospheric black metal as you ought to expect it to be; something to lose yourself in, although I do like that the band breaks away from the genre at times to include much calmer sections of music, drawing heavily on folk music. They have a sense for melody, but don’t lack for the rawness that black metal is associated with. It is, simply put, absolutely stunning and absorbing to listen to.

However so was Winterfylleth on The Threnody of Triumph. So what makes Curse a much better example of this brand of black metal? Well for a start those folk influences I mentioned add a nice extra layer to the music which wasn’t evident on The Threnody of Triumph, but the major difference is something I mentioned near the start of this review; The Threnody of Triumph just wasn’t memorable. It was very enjoyable while listening to it, but unlike Curse it utterly failed to leave a lasting impression to make me want to keep going back to it, while Curse on the other hand does just the opposite.

Right, the mentions of Winterfylleth are over. The rest of this review will be given over to the album at hand alone. Not that I really have much left to say. Curse is simply one of those must own albums of its genre, featuring sprawling tracks of black metal brilliance, more than enough variation to keep it fresh through an over an hour’s duration, and honestly the best atmosphere I’ve heard out of a black metal release since, well, ever I suppose, although the work of another UK band, Fen, is also worth a mention for being high quality, however Fen draws a lot more on post-rock and the recent blackgaze style. At the time of writing though, Fen haven’t impressed me on quite the level of what Wodensthrone have done with Curse, but between the two along with the more wacky avant-garde act A Forest of Stars and, giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Winterfylleth as well given I haven’t heard the band’s first two albums, I’m quite proud to say that the UK has become a major player in the field of atmospheric black metal, and Wodensthrone is the band leading the charge. From the gentle opening introduction The Remaining Few to the thirteen and a half minute closer The Name of the Wind, Curse is pure testament to Wodensthrone’s abilities. A top tier rating is deserved. There have been some great black metal releases in 2012, but if you had to limit yourself to just one of them, then do yourself a favour and make that one Curse.

95/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
Warthur
Wodensthrone's powerful, progressive-tinged atmospheric black metal masterpiece Curse is perhaps my favourite black metal release of 2012 (next to the decidedly un-atmospheric and aggressive Black Breath's release). With powerful compositions and exceptional performances, and a lyrical slant which combines nostalgia for olden-times paganism with a Wolves In the Throne Room-esque reverence of mother Earth and hatred of what we humans have done to her, the band certainly have most of the bases covered as far as atmospheric black metal goes, and they deliver the goods with aplomb. Árfæst on keyboards adds a very subtle touch and in general avoids showboating, which helps support the grim and foreboding tone of the album.
Wilytank
(Originally posted by me to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives; http://www.metal-archives.com/)

Following my enthusiasm for their album 'Loss', I was eager to see what Wodensthrone would do for their followup effort 'Curse'. 'Loss' was a great album, though there clearly was room for improvement in some areas. 'Curse' is the next logical step of progression for the band with the few flaws that were present in 'Loss' remedied and the qualities that made the album good improved even more.

The intro piece "The Remaining Few" may not be as epic as "Fyrgenstréam" on 'Loss', but it nevertheless serves as a fitting calm before the storm of atmospheric black metal which comes in 40 seconds into the album. I've talked about the purifying rainstorm atmosphere on 'Loss'. That atmosphere is present here on 'Curse', but I feel that it's an even more violent storm as well as a more purifying one. Some of the things that build this effect include the improved guitar and drum production to help even out the layering of instruments. With these parts a little louder in the mix, the rain in the atmospheric imagery falls harder and the wind blowing stronger. As a welcome side effect, whenever the music does reach a calmer sounding break, these calm parts feel a lot more epic.

Take for instance the first real song after the intro piece. The first third of "Jormungandr" consists of this raging storm of furious tremolo riffs, blast beats, and a lower volume keyboard in the background. Then everything just slows down at that third way point with this awesome sounding flute leading to a buildup riff that releases itself onto a slow tempo climax. Almost all the songs have this sort of break, buildup, climax combo in them though none of them follow the same exact style. "First Light" for instance has the big break later in the song and the climax is a faster storm of riffs and blast beats. The only song that follows the pattern in a noticeably more awkward fashion is "The Storm", which has its break and buildup right at the end which plays right into "The Name of the Wind".

With the keyboards toned down a bit, it's much easier to appreciate the guitar work on this album compared to 'Loss'. The melodic guitar work is excellent at driving this rainstorm atmosphere and the riffs are well written and well played; I've found myself doing my fair share of air guitaring to many of the passages on this album. The drums are also praiseworthy with Ian "Hréowsian" Finley's playing definitely being memorable while maintaining a great amount of fluidity on slower sections like the buildup on "Jormungandr" as well as having great precision while blast beating.

'Curse' is definitely a superior storm to me than 'Loss' and is an obvious recommendation for those into Wolves in the Throne Room styled atmospheric black metal. But, much more than a run of the mill release, Wodensthrone have definitely put their own personal touch on this album. And yet, there's still room left for them to progress further and make more great music; and so, I await what storm they bring next.

(97/100)

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