WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM — Diadem of 12 Stars

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WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM - Diadem of 12 Stars cover
3.37 | 18 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2006


1. Queen of the Borrowed Light (12:58)
2. Face in a Night Time Mirror, Part 1 (13:20)
3. Face in a Night Time Mirror, Part 2 (13:58)
4. Diadem of 12 Stars (20:22)

Total Time: 60:39


- Rick Dahlin / vocals, guitar
- Nathan Weaver / vocals, guitar
- Aaron Weaver / drums

Guest musicians:
- Jamie Myers / vocals (2)
- Dino Sommese / vocals (1 & 3)

About this release

Vendius Records
February 7th, 2006

Thanks to bartosso, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The debut album by Wolves In the Throne Room might not be quite as startlingly different as the likes of, say, Celestial Lineage, but the seeds of their more original sound were sown here. Focusing exclusively on longer compositions, the band alternate between faster playing and slower, doomier sections, with a few hints of the complex compositional techniques of post-metal creeping in here and there, and on the whole the band have already done a good job of distinguishing themselves from Burzum, their primary musical influence. Although the band would go onto substantially greater things, this is the solid foundation on which their subsequent work is built.
Phonebook Eater

"Diadem In 12 Stars" has interesting traits and promises great things for Wolves In the Throne Room.

American Black Metal for some is just a joke. That is, for the Black Metal (pretentious) purists. But Wolves In The Throne Room prove how these people are wrong. Their debut album was “Diadem In 12 Stars”, an album that shows the uniqueness of the band and how, even though not having extremely solid roots in the Scandinavian scene, they are credible, and loyal to the genre.

Even from the start, WITTR have received attention because of their sound: this debut album of theirs distances itself from the more traditional side of BM, incorporating different styles and making them mesh one another: there are a great amount of shoegazey guitars, female clean vocals, audible melodies, atmospheric acoustic passages, and quite a bit of dynamicity. Their music is hypnotic but not repetitive, complex but easy to follow. The richness of the textures, the variety, and the carefully structured songs make Wolves a much more progressive influenced band in comparisons with other Atmospheric Black Metal bands like Burzum or early Ulver, also because of the unusually different rhythms, more syncopated and elaborate than the stale ones of the more traditional bands.

“Diadem in 12 Stars” is one of those albums whose cover perfectly reflects the music of the album: with a cascade surrounded by trees and by fog, it brings the listener right in front of that spectacle: in the more hypnotic moments, one finds himself directly underneath the cascade, bathed by ethereal, silvery water that falls either smoothly or harshly. There is in fact a strong feeling of ethereal, dreamy nature in the compositions and in the lyrics, that echoes throughout the entire album.

With only four tracks and an hour worth of length, “Diadem In 12 Stars” is an extremely consistent album in terms of structure: it’s biggest gripe is the fact that these songs are made out of the same ingredients, and the resulting cake tastes the same. Even though the variation is of course undeniable within the songs, there is no variation from track to track, and the formulas are just repeated again, becoming a little stale when reaching to an end to this LP. The songs, studied individually, are all good, pretty entertaining (even though some moments feel simply passive and not as engaging as they should), and well planned. It seems though that the album as a whole does not feel like that as much.

“Diadem In 12 Stars” is a decent start-off point for Wolves in The Throne Room. Already received a cult status among the lovers (non-purists) of the genre, this debut release is a promising one, and clearly the promises the band gave here came true later on in 2007 (one year later) with “Two Hunters”.
Conor Fynes
'Diadem Of 12 Stars' - Wolves In The Throne Room (5/10)

Wolves In The Throne Room's 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' has that rare honour of being a debut album that has been called a masterpiece of its style. Although the second record 'Two Hunters' received even greater acclaim, this first full-length from the Washington-based group sent waves throughout the North American black metal scene. Having been introduced to this band through their masterpiece 'Two Hunters', I grew to love what the band had done on that album. Its spiritual atmosphere and epic approach made it an album that I came to love, even if it was a tad slow to grow on me. With my experience of their best album coming first, my experience with the first and third albums has been something of a disappointment. 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' is even more disappointing than 'Black Cascade', if even only for the fact that I had been told numerous times what a majestic album it was. However, what its turned out to be for me has been a sloppy and meandering take on black metal that shows great potential around its edges, but comes up short in the end.

The album is an hour long, divided into four tracks. With the last track passing the grand 20 minute mark, Wolves In The Throne Room can at the very least be lauded for being so ambitious. What I have found this music to be however is brutally inconsistent. There are parts here where I see where the album's fans are coming from however. the clean female vocals are a very ethereal touch, and what melodies that Wolves chooses to elaborate on tend to work very well. All of these aspects would turn out much better on 'Two Hunters' though. The dreary production is fairly standard for the genre, but here, it tends to obscure some of the guitars and drums to a point where it stops contributing to the atmosphere, and starts to deter from the musical experience.

'Two Hunters' was lo-fi, but looking back on it, it had a very refined sensibility to it; there was that feeling that each piece of reverb and ambiance was an intentional move of the band/ Here on 'Diadem Of 12 Stars', there is more the feeling that Wolves In The Throne Room took all of their pieces and tossed them on the floor, just to see where they might end up. These compositions are not totally random, but they feel as if they lack a strong sense of direction to them. Be it for the lack of many melodies and somewhat monotonous nature of the black metal riffing here, none of the songs really distinguish themselves from one another. Instead, I can remember this album for the good moments where the band gets that dramatic atmosphere that I heard so much of on 'Two Hunters'.

I cannot say that I can see why 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' is considered such an accomplishment by the American black metal community. It is far more ambitious than the average black metal record, but alot of these ideas feel sloppy and unrealized. Were it not for the moments of inspiration, the album would be fairly bland for me. Wolves In The Throne Room would fortunately take the good elements here and amplify them however, and with their second time around, they would finally create what I consider to be a masterpiece of this style of music.
Most of the metal genres focus on intense instrumentation, overt technicality, and outspeeding each other. Black metal is a bit different in the sense that it generally has been more about the evil atmosphere. To achieve this the bands use lo-fi production and walls of buzzing noise to envelope the listener in a haze of malice.

Diadem of 12 Stars is an example of when this can go wrong. In an attempt to make the genre more atmospheric the band extends and pads their songs with longer bouts of slow noise, forgoes the use of bass to make the shrieking guitar sound more abrasive, and makes the recording quality intentionally poor. Unfortunately this makes the band sound like a bunch of teens who just discovered black metal and decided to record in a cave (fortunately for them, this is the imagery they're going for).

The songs themselves lack development as well. Most of the songs are several bars of one tremolo chord followed by several bars of a different chord, with repetitive drums behind it. While bands like Bathory were doing this long ago there were generally changes in riffs and melodies and the vocals made variations on the theme. These early bands constructed a song off of a couple of riffs and developed it so the composition was worthy of an epic length, rather than stretching out a riff and padding it until the time is past ten minutes.

Quality aside, this is not really black metal. All the instrumentation is there, though the musical style is closer to the most repetitive of post metal. However, it seems to lack more of the atmosphere of either genre, rather being like an overlong song experiment.

Ultimately, Wolves in the Throne Room is better as a live performance band, where the immediacy of the sound is at the face. The band would improve with subsequent releases such as Two Hunters and Black Cascade. However, this band will have to start off with this juvenille release, which really strives to be more than it is.

Members reviews

"Diadem of 12 Stars" marks the first release by American atmospheric/ambient black metal masters, Wolves in the Throne Room. Let me start by saying that this band and album have had some impact on the black metal scene itself, reminding us that there is more behind black metal's sound than Satan, but rather it expresses a furious spirit that demands we return to a heathen existence. "Diadem of 12 Stars" turns this nature inspired fury into a raw, pure form of black metal recorded on to two-inch tape that further improves the band's natural sound.

The multiple moods of this album are reflected very well in the atmosphere; anger, sorrow and happiness all come together perfectly clear and understandable, yet remain disorienting in the fact that they leave you in utter reflection of things. This slight disorientation is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can reveal to you the ills of the modern world, as Wolves in the Throne Room had intended to do through their music: raise awareness on the subject. These moods could also be seen as being reflected in different personas, with happiness being brought by the wonderful female vocals, especially in track two, "Face in a Night Time Mirror (Part 1)," which reminds us that nature is indeed beautiful, and is something to be respected, cherished and embraced by all. The guitar works this way too, featuring a lush, vibrant sound that projects images of the greenery featured on the album's own cover. At times, the guitar can create the exact opposite: a very sorrowful atmosphere expressing rue for the modern world. The high pitched shrieks that are so common in black metal are prevalent in this release, but are thankfully not one dimensional. They express the very same woe for humanity as the guitars, and do so along the guitars and occasionally the female vocals, and range from nearly guttural to very high. The drums could be looked at as the natural exoskeleton of this album, pushing it forward by building tension, and bringing it all down into beautiful, sorrowful guitar interludes. The synth is nothing short of amazing, and is never overused, but used in extreme moderation. It too adds to the epic soundscapes Wolves in the Throne Room aims to create, and does so with extreme gusto.

This album is a true masterpiece of the more obscure, heathen subtype of black metal. Its unexplainable emotional and thought invoking atmosphere can only be understood only by those who can appreciate nature and other forms of black metal, or by those who can appreciate all. If there is a flaw to "Diadem of 12 Stars," it's the total length of one hour and how much patience it takes to fully appreciate it. Other than this, "Diadem of 12 Stars" is nothing short of perfect, and Wolves in the Throne Room have done very well in creating this spectacular slice of heathen pride.
Prog Geo
Good album!I'm a fan of the band but I try to be fair.The sound isn't so good.But it doesn't have a demo's sound.It has a medium sound.There are interesting ideas.Some moments the album is monotonous but in the black metal way.So,it didn't bother me so much.The music is sad,depressive and ethereal.The vocals of Dino Sommese and Jamie Myers(wonderful soft vocals)are great.

The artwork is great.These trees on the rocks is great image.And very nature-friendly.

My favorite track is (A shimmering radiance)Diadem of 12 stars because it contains and it has all the elements of the album together.

This album isn't for everyone.Mostly,it's good for fans of this genre.But it's an interesting album.I believe that there's a small amount of hope inside here.

My grade:7/10

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