R E V I E W S

Wolves in the Throne Room - Diadem of 12 Stars - Vendlus Records 2006

Track Listing
1. Queen of the Borrowed Night
2. Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 1
3. Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 2
4. (A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem of 12 Stars
The amount of quality black metal bands hailing from the United States seems to be ever increasing, in a scene which once had very little to offer. Bands like Secrets She Kept, Sothis, and Kult ov Azazel have all made significant strides in recent years to add a lot of credibility to American black metal. Wolves in the Throne Room take what these bands have done one step further, as they musically push the limits of black metal and music in general with their debut full-length entitled “Diadem of 12 Stars.” This dynamic three-piece, from the shores of Olympia, Washington, have compiled four ten-plus minute songs that never cease to wonder and amaze. In other words, their extremely long songs rarely sound boring and repeated, which is a feat that is very difficult to pull off.

There are many keys to the success of Wolves in the Throne Room. The vocals, shared by guitarists Rick and Nathan, are your standard black metal shrieks – nothing revolutionary but they get the job done nicely, with occasional variations in tone or style. The guitar work by the pair, however, is outstanding. Somehow, they have managed to create riffing patterns in all four songs that repeat continuously for ten or fifteen minutes and never get old. In addition, the riffs possess almost a double feeling – one epic and one raw. It’s a very difficult feeling to explain and probably has something to do with the tuning and mixing, but Wolves manage to retain a rather brutal black metal sound simultaneously with one normally akin to Viking or folk metal.

These riffing patterns lead to another one of Wolves in the Throne Room’s main assets, which is their ability to smoothly integrate folk influences into their music. This phenomenon stands out particularly on “Face in a Night Time Mirror Part 1,” which features not only some chilling acoustic guitar sections but also female vocals with keyboard accompaniment. Oftentimes bands will try and force such sounds into their songs with transitions that are far from smooth – fortunately for the listener Wolves do just the opposite. Their writing ability is seemingly very polished, and they do a good job transitioning from part to part and sound to sound.

“Diadem of 12 Stars” is the best American black metal album I’ve heard since Secrets She Kept’s “Requiems to Midnight, Woe,” which I highly praised on this very site some months ago. It’s a real pleasure to see a band like Wolves in the Throne Room unafraid to take some pretty hefty risks as far as song length and accessibility, especially since they pulled it off pretty flawlessly. Although it’s likely that only serious black metal fans would at first be able to grasp the brilliance of this album, I would still recommend it to any fan of metal.

9/10


--Veritas 04.06.06




Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.


All reviews for this band:
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Black CascadeWolves in the Throne Room
2009
David Loveless3/18/2010
Celestial LineageWolves in the Throne Room
2011
Etiam12/27/2012
Diadem of 12 StarsWolves in the Throne Room
2006
Veritas5/4/2006



Interviews found from this band:
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE



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