WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM — Diadem of 12 Stars (review)

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM — Diadem of 12 Stars album cover Album · 2006 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
"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.
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Conor Fynes wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Awesome review, Bryden!


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