WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM – Malevolent Grain (2009)

Wolves In The Throne Room - Malevolent Grain It’s always nice to be able to actually use my old vinyl player on a new recording- a lot of people react with disbelief when I say that vinyl, as a format, is going through somewhat of a resurgence. Is it going to overtake the CD or iTunes? No, but its recent increase in popularity is due to the fact that vinyl has a distinct sound – and in the age of digital recording, where the noise floor is nearly nonexistent, and everything sounds crystal clear, the vinyl sound has every reason to be desired once more by the music-minded populace.

Naturally, it goes without saying that some musicians and ensembles are better suited to the format than others. Coldplay might not bring out the best of the format, but The Mountain Goats sure will. The same holds true for metal – Slipknot on vinyl would be somewhat of a pointless exercise, but Wolves In The Throne Room were practically born to be heard this way.

Malevolent Grain is a two song, 12″ vinyl-only EP that’s sort of a musical appetizer (Wolves In The Throne Room’s next full-length, Black Cascade, is due out this spring). The EP consists of two songs; the first, A Looming Resonance begins slowly (think of the beginning of Burzum’s Hviss lyset tar oss), gradually builds in intensity, and disappears in amidst a veil of explosive white noise. The second track, Hate Crystal, is more of a typical black metal song, but it concludes by ripping out all of the song’s layers, one by one, until there’s nothing left but some shakers at the end.

Although the songs progress similarly, structurally, they manage to stand in contrast against each other more than you might think – A Looming Resonance begins serenely and ends in cacophony, while Hate Crystal does the exact opposite. Even the vocals stand apart from each other. A Looming Resonance features guest vocals from Jamie Meyers (of Hammers of Misfortune), while regular vocalist Nathan Weaver provides the shrieks and howls on Hate Crystal.

Even though it’s only two songs, Malevolent Grain is more complete than most of what passes as black metal these days. It serves to remind us that yes, Wolves In Throne Room really are worth taking note of, and not because of their environmental views, or because they’re some US West Coast black metal anomaly – it’s because, musically, they’ve got everything about black metal mastered.

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2 Responses to “WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM – Malevolent Grain (2009)”

  1. […] year for metal, and it’s only the beginning. We’ve already got a wonderful EP from Wolves In The Throne Room (with a full length follow-up due in May), as well as a totally unexpected masterpiece from […]

  2. […] magnificently weird In Glorious Times). Having already released an excellent (but brief) vinyl EP earlier in the year, Black Cascade inevitably feels like a departure of that album, in that […]

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