WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM have always been one of the more peculiar bands in black metal. Whilst the iconic Scandinavian names are revered for focusing on a cold and primitive sound, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM‘s expansive soundscape makes for an intriguing listen indeed. On the back of their sixth studio record, Thrice Woven, (which was released back in September) the band arrive on UK shores to showcase their craft in the live environment. We caught the show in Manchester to see how their sound translated live.
Serving as the sole supporting act, occult rock three piece ALUK TODOLO‘s instrumental offering served as a solid opening foray before the main event. With the sound of black metal locked in through a heavy use of distinct tones and drumming patterns, the band twisted and turned through a performance that pushed their sonics to their boundaries. Ambient and solitary notes rung out as the momentum dipped and at times, the sound washed over the audience to great effect. At the heart of the band’s stage show, one solitary light-bulb that dimmed and shone as ALUK TODOLO worked through their musical gears, giving a unique sense of character to the band’s live set-up. Whilst instrumental music in the live setting can become monotonous and the impact can be dampened as time progresses, and indeed it did in places with ALUK TODOLO, overall, their performance here was peculiarly unique, one which set the stage to good effect for the main event.
As the aroma of incense engulfs the venue and ambient sounds ring out, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM take to the stage and instantly seek to dig their collective musical claws in. And the band achieved just that as their expansive and progressive black metal started to work through the gears through the opening salvo of Born From The Serpent’s Eye. From there, the band really hit their stride and created a wonderful soundscape that ensnared the audience. Nathan Weaver‘s icy riffs combined well with the explosive drumming to create a menacing wall of sound whilst his vocal shrieks held their own in the chaotic mix as the band displayed their ferocity with absolute ease. Yet, for all their skill in displaying a solid sound that encapsulates the sound one has come to expect with black metal, where WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM really shone was when their soundscape shifted towards that of the ambience and solitary. Isolated guitar lines, gentle percussion drumming and distinct synth tones helped forge an utterly immersive atmosphere, one where you really lost yourself in the band’s sound, and the experience was sensational. Firing on all cylinders throughout and ending with the triumphant finale of I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM gave a outstanding performance; one which more than demonstrated their quality and talent within black metal.