Wolves in the Throne Room
Wolves in the Throne Room performing at With Full Force 2018
|Origin||Olympia, Washington, United States|
|Labels||Southern Lord, Vendlus, Artemisia|
Wolves in the Throne Room is an American black metal band formed in 2003 in Olympia, Washington by brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver. They have released six full-length albums, two live albums, and one EP to date. They have stated one of the founding concepts of the band to be channeling the "energies of the Pacific Northwest's landscape" into musical form.
Brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver formed the band in 2003. Their first practice took place in a falling-down cabin located on the then-abandoned and overgrown Calliope Farm, which they had recently moved to. Nathan met Nick Paul at a local party and the three began to write material for their first demo. At the time, Nick was heavily influenced by thrash speed and death metal, citing bands like Death, and Bolt Thrower, as well as death rock influences such as Swans, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Fields of the Nephilim. Aaron and Nathan's musical style was more informed by crust, doom, and Norwegian and Bay Area black metal.
The band's first release was their 2004 demo, a black CDR wrapped in fur with moss inside the lyric sheet. Nick Paul left the band soon after the first demo was recorded.
Richard Dalahn joined the band in early 2005. They then began working on material for a second demo, which would become Diadem of 12 Stars.
Their debut full-length album Diadem of 12 Stars was released in 2006. Diadem was recorded with a budget of $1100 by Tim Green at Louder Studios in San Francisco. The band played shows on the way down to San Francisco to raise money for the project and borrowed equipment from local band Ludicra.
Nathan had met singer Jamie Myers from the bands Hammers of Misfortune and Like Flies on Flesh at a squat show in Oakland on a previous tour and asked to her sing on the album. Jamie was nine months pregnant during recording of her vocal tracks.
The debut record received positive reviews, with Pitchfork stating that, "it's the inclusion of folk and goth that separates Wolves in the Throne Room from the pack, breaking up the madness with moments of poetic clarity."
They released their second full-length album Two Hunters in 2007, the first part of a trilogy of albums that was concluded with Celestial Lineage. Two Hunters was the first time the band worked with producer Randall Dunn, who has produced all of their subsequent releases. During the Two Hunters sessions, the band began to work with analog synthesizers, which has become a crucial feature in the band's sound. Persian classical singer Jessika Kenney performed vocals on the songs "Cleansing" and "I Will Lay Down my Bones Among The Rocks And Roots."
Two Hunters received positive reviews, with reviewers praising the band's subtle blending of conventional metal and post-rock genres.
Their third album Black Cascade was released in March 2009, again through Southern Lord. The album featured a much rawer and more stripped-down sound, and the band has said that they "wanted to record an album that focussed on guitar, drums and vocals, rather than studio explorations." After the release of Black Cascade, the band began a period of touring in the United States and Europe supporting Sunn O))), Earth, and Weedeater. The band played at both 2008 and 2009 RoadBurn festivals, Hellfest, Grasspop, and Roskilde. Roadburn released a Live at Roadburn 2008 album in early 2009.
Music critic Brandon Stosuy described Celestial Lineage as "American black metal's idiosyncratic defining record of 2011". AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia argued that the album married the differing sounds of the two previous albums, "resulting in their most refined and confident outing to date."
In January, 2014, it was announced that a 'companion album' to the opus Celestial Lineage was set to be released, entitled Celestite. Celestite was released in North America on Artemisia Records on July 8, 2014 and was described as an experimental extension on musical themes explored in their previous album Celestial Lineage.
Daniel Ross of The Quietus described the album as a departure from the band's "plectrum-annihilating assault" and praised the band's ability to act as, "enablers of specific atmospheres, able to handhold a listener through incredibly dense forest in very low light."
In 2016, the band began work on a new record, listed under the name Thrice Woven on the band's Bandcamp page. Initially set for release on September 22, 2017, it was released three days earlier on September 19. The band will also be touring US and Europe in the following months.
The band's music has been described as "atmospheric black metal" " and "Cascadian black metal". They have also been considered significant to post-metal for their combination of "ambience and violence" to create "emotionally impacting" music, especially on their 2007 sophomore album Two Hunters.
Wolves in the Throne Room has not incorporated most of the traditional traits of black metal such as corpse paint, the use of pseudonyms and Satanic imagery. Member Aaron Weaver has said, "Wolves in the Throne Room is not black metal, or, more accurately, we play black metal on our own terms, for our own reasons." And unlike most modern metal bands, Wolves in the Throne Room always use vintage amplifiers and recording equipment.
Aaron Weaver has also described their music as "striving to operate on the mythic level", commenting that "I think there's this sense that we've lost something and we can't have it back. And maybe it's not something we ever wanted to begin with. That sense of despair and loss and you don't even know what you lost. That's one of the central themes in black metal and that runs through our records as well." He went on to add that one of the central ideals of the band is "the idea of uncovering the occult or the spiritual or the energetic reality of place. Being deeply connected to a place and creating music and art that rises up out of a landscape."
Wolves in the Throne Room's sound is influenced by Scandinavian black metal. Wolves in the Throne Room has often cited American band Neurosis as a key inspiration because their music "operates on a deep and intense mythic level". They have also mentioned synthesizer artists like Popol Vuh as an influence.