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Wolves in the Throne Room: Celestite

Apparently Wolves in the Throne Room have a new album due out on July 8th through their own Artemisia Records that, once again, finds the act redefining itself once more. Much like Burzum and Darkthrone‘s Fenriz electronic recording, this duo has shed their Black Metal roots in favor or releasing something Ambient. In preparation, they have unleashed “Initiation at Neudeg Alm” as the effort’s lead single, and given the reaction on my Facebook wall, I felt obligated to spend some time with the song and see if the praise was well deserved. I was ready for another round of electronic experimentation in the blackened community, even though I didn’t know what I was getting myself into this time.

I’m always up for experiencing a good Ambience album, but aside the BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini EP they released, I’ve never been too keen on Wolves in the Throne Room‘s output. I didn’t even know they had made this big a leap until I hit the play button on the stream. But, there it was, coming through my speakers in all it’s eighties Science Fiction synth-score glory. Given the album is named after a crystal that supposedly has strong healing powers, it felt natural to what I expect to be a running theme to the recording. The soothing performance suddenly shifted about a minute and a half in, much like upon approaching the end of the opening credits, and it pretty much lost me about two-and-a-half minutes in when it hit me: Wolves in the Throne Room are now composing music for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos, or at the very least a planetarium exhibit.

I just can’t help but feel this simply wasn’t strong enough to last that near six minute length on its own. Four minutes would have been a better cut-off time. But is it a bad song? No, not really, but it’s been done before, and done better. It didn’t take long on the first time through “Initiation at Neudeg Alm” for me to wish I were listenin to any Darsombra release instead of this, or even the random Sunn O))) recording.

When it comes to Wolves in the Throne Room, let’s face it, they have some of the most loyal fans possible. So, no matter how bad the album ends up being, it’s going to wind up with plenty of ninety to one hundred percent scores across the board praising the band for being “bold” and “adventurous” for releasing something “that’s never been seen before,” even though it has. I’m not looking all that forward to this release, nor the inevitable fanboy explosions that swallow my e-mail and social networking platforms whole. If the lead single from Celestite honestly had me left me bored and scrambling for things to talk about with it by ninety seconds in, the only saving grace would be how the song fits in with the other tracks of the album.

To judge for yourself, check out the track playing exclusivey on Noisey.

Wolves in the Throne Room
Wolves in the Throne Room

Article based on a public audio stream.