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
3/5 ·
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”.
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