Music Review : Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestite (2014)
This companion piece to Celestial Lineage, the near-masterpiece from these Washington state black metallers stating that they are not playing black metal but are obviously inspired by Ulver and Burzum’s decadent yet beautiful mastery challenge of BM while saying their biggest influence is Neurosis. Living on a farm and praising a return to organic form and life, the members of WITTR have recorded two of the best American black metal records to date; the aforementioned Celestial Lineage and Two Hunters.
Their recent release is an instrumental exploration of esoteric textures and sonorities that reminds of interesting interludes in Burzum and Ulver’s most notorious albums. An entire opus solely concentrated on ambiance and musical odyssey is pretty ballsy. With all the ambition that WITTR enters in this territory, an artist like M83 would have killed it. But here, WITTR misses the mark and should have released this album under another name just to separate the band from the experimentalists. Just like Sunn O))), who explores many alleys with other musicians they sign with their co-artists. WITTR did an okay job with a difficult task. It feels like a challenge the wolf could not chew by himself. Maybe a collab with a more experimented drone/noise music artist could have helped them raise the bar.
With Initiation at Neudeg Alm, there are glimpses of hope and a nice sound that opens the mystery angle that black metal and instrumental music share. It doesn’t need to be raised to epic scales.
Celestite is not a complete disaster but don’t get into this and wait for black metal or even metal. It is interesting for fans of the band to follow this new direction but it could have been more transitional or even a part of a double album with Celestial Lineage more than a piece of itself. Sometimes an artist has to get it out of his system to continue its evolution and get to stronger levels. Let’s hope it was the case here. Because Wolves In The Throne Room still has many promising records in the belly.6.5