Monday, 20 August 2012

Wolves In The Throne Room - Celestial Lineage

1. Thuja Magus Imperium
2. Permanent Changes In Consciousness
3. Subterranean Initiation
4. Rainbow Illness
6. Woodland Cathedral
7. Astral Blood
8. Prayer Of Transformation

They have probably done it again. Following the release of Black Cascade, which is dismissed by many as their weakest album (Not me though), Wolves In The Throne Room are back with another sophomore release, Celestial Lineage. Whilst not very much different from their previous efforts, it includes more emphasis on certain elements that weren't present on Black Cascade. It is also their catchiest and easiest to get into to date. Personally, I think Celestial Lineage is their best alongside Two Hunters, with Black Cascade following and Diadem Of 12 Stars in the fourth place (Just because that 20-minute track feels drawn out).

The wolves are back again with their atmospheric style of blackened tremolo riffing. The guitars sound stellar and create some of the duo's best riffs ever, especially on "Thuja Magus Imperium" and "Astral Blood". The drumming is also fast and adept, while the vocals are excellently executed by Nathan Weaver. However, what makes Celestial Lineage different is the incorporation of female vocals (which were used on Two Hunters, but left out of Black Cascade) and droning ambient soundscapes i.e. "Woodland Cathedral". These particular elements make the songwriting on Celestial Lineage much more interesting.

Atmosphere-wise I don't think it can get better than this. The Weaver brothers "weave" textures so rich and deep with emotions, aided by the ambient passages and the female vocals, which also evoke a mystical, esoteric vibe. While listening to Celestial Lineage, it's quite not uncommon to feel your spine tingling upon some amazing guitar riffs. If you don't get what I mean, listen to the riff in "Thuja Magus Imperium" at 9:51 and the one in "Astral Blood" at 8:14. And there's much more to it than those two riffs.

The album is very well-produced (WITTR's cleanest to date), and as you might have obviously noticed, the tracks on Celestial Lineage are more numerous but shorter than the ones on their previous albums. "Thuja Magus Imperium" and "Astral Blood" are pure gold, while "Subterranean Initiation" and "Prayer Of Transformation" are also great black metal songs. "Woodland Cathedral" stands out as a droning interlude with female vocals that create an enticing atmosphere. The two remaining tracks, "Permanent Changes In Consciousness" and "Rainbow Illness" are simply two ambient instrumental interludes to slow down the flow with the album (Which is great by the way).

So, do I recommend this? Of course I do. This is probably one of my top five metal albums of 2011, and it's definitely one of the best black metal albums of the year. Celestial Lineage is just another magnificent offering from the Weaver brothers; it is their catchiest and in my personal opinion their best until now. So what are you waiting for? Go listen to Celestial Lineage and get engulfed by that fantastic atmosphere.

Rating: 9.0/10

Thuja Magus Imperium

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