"Two Hunters" provides an image of the dark corners of the world.
Along maybe with bands like Agalloch, Wolves In Throne Room is now one of America’s most recognized Black Metal bands: in 2007, they released “Two Hunters”, so far the absolute pinnacle of their career and one of the best albums of the scene.
“Diadem in 12 Stars” was their debut album which had a very unique take on Blackgaze; the sound was very ethereal and harsh at the same time. “Two Hunters” perfects that atmosphere by a whole lot, with much more brave, shoegazey and unearthly passages soaked in reverb, which gain a touch of beauty when female vocals, that seem to come from heaven, are added. Then we still have the grim, electric passages. But, despite the great amount of Black Metal in this release, everything sounds much more clean and less raw than in “Diadem”: the reverb is possibly the greatest reason why it doesn’t feel that heavy, but it’s also the fact that WITTR on this one decided to focus much more intensely on the atmosphere.
The lyrics are probably the most enigmatic and fascinating aspect of the album: “I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks And Roots” is a sort of a dying wish of the persona: he wants to be left in the woods, so that he becomes one with nature, entering, this way, into a new life. Then “Vastness and Sorrow” is more complex: it involves a dark rider who rules the world, as he is the only living being there. The world moves to his horse’s steps, as he passes through ruins of a once great civilization, a symbol of failure of mankind. “Cleansing” seems to describe an encouragement to have a ritual act of purification through singing, in order to be saved from the dark rider, who is mentioned.
With only four tracks, “Two Hunters” provides the listener, in less than fifty minutes, a vivid image of dark, hidden corners of the world where man has not yet visited; A damp, black cave, in which there is a waterfall of the purest of waters. “Dia Artio” is the intro the starts off this unique journey, where the reverb-soaked clean guitars set the stage. The twelve minute “Vastness and Sorrow” is a gloomy Black Metal piece that finds no pause, no mercy, managing to be the darkest track on the album. “Cleansing” starts off with a vein similar to the intro, but then explodes into yet another Black Metal passage. The final, eighteen minute track is home of a bunch of solid, solemn and somber riffs, occasionally purified with the watery clean moments. As the music dissolves, at the end of the album, the sound of birds comes in , giving more coherency to the lyrical concept of the song, by this point of view one of the great closers of Black Metal history.
“Two Hunters” will be remembered as a Black Metal landmark album, an album that will be, over the years. a point of reference for many bands; even today, the Blackgaze movement is, although mostly underground, increasing exponentially, and will possibly domain most of future Black Metal. When that happens, Wolves In The Throne Room have a reserved place in the Olympus of legendary Metal bands.