After almost two decades of being one of the most influential bands in the black metal underground, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM are back with a new epic offering “Primordial Arcana”, their new monument out toda on Relapse Records.
Primordial Arcana is the band’s first completely self-contained work: In addition to composition and performance, brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver alongside guitarist Kody Keyworth handled all aspects of recording, producing and mixing at their own Owl Lodge Studios in the woods of Washington state.
Musically, Primordial Arcana exists very much within the zone of this band’s last six albums. Guitars clang like bells. Keyboards sound like whispery drones. Drums go into blastbeat overdrive, sometimes sounding less like a rhythmic instrument and more like the wingbeats of a giant hummingbird. But some things have changed. The ambient parts of Primordial Arcana are glassier, prettier, and more meditative than anything I can remember hearing from this band in years past. The album-ending instrumental “Eostre,” for instance, is all gasping glacial keyboards and tootling pan flutes and soothing river sounds. It’s lovely. And when they feel like it, this time out, Wolves In The Throne Room fucking rock. This feels new. / Stereogum
The album’s title is a reference to the band’s ongoing reach back to the most ancient, archetypal energies.
Leadoff track “Mountain Magick” sets the august tone with alpine guitar melodies cresting skyward in triumph. “Spirit of Lightning” returns briefly to the earthly plane as a tribute to the human connections forged in music. Meanwhile, “Primal Chasm (Gift of Fire)” is an explosion of cosmic grandeur, a symphonic rendering of the hermetic maxim As above, so below as envisioned by Keyworth. In fact, Primordial Arcana is the first WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM record in which Kody was a part of the writing process from the start, so it benefits from his background in cosmic funeral doom.
Always uncompromising, Primordial Arcana sees WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM stay true to their unique vision. An album born out of the DIY ethos, Primordial Arcana proves to be the band’s most genuine and focused. One of the year’s most ambitious recordings, Primordial Arcana cements WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM’s legacy as one of US Black Metal’s most daring, unique, and quintessential bands.