Only a couple of years ago it seemed like the presence of American Black Metal legends Wolves In The Throne Room on UK shores would become a fleeting experience, if indeed it occurred again. Following a UK tour in 2011 and then an All The Party’s appearance the following year, it would then be five years until the band would eventually return in support of latest album Thrice Woven (Artemisia) with a much anticipated UK tour. With this in mind, a second UK tour in 2 years on the back of Thrice Woven seemed a surprise, but a very much welcome one.
Opening up proceedings at their London show are UK’s Wode who are quickly beginning to make a name for themselves in the underground scene with both their self-titled debut and Servants Of The Countercosmos (both Avantgarde) albums receiving rave reviews. With a similar approach to Black Metal as the headline act in the sense of being adventurous within the sound, and yet possessing enough recognisable traits, Wode excels in their support slot of ultimately intense and furious extreme metal that isn’t afraid to go off-piste. With the room quickly filling, Wode certainly aren’t overlooked today and showcase just why they are on of the UK’s best secrets.
WITTR are purveyors of atmosphere and the dimmed lights and the aroma of incense permeating the room moments before their arrival is a testament of that. Atmospheric in a way that differs to some of the more orthodox Norwegian peers, their sound is deeply rooted in drawn out and explorative yet ferocious Black Metal, and today they convey this immersive meets primal approach in a way that makes tonight as hypnotic as it is purely fun. Beginning with the opening track from Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord) ‘Thuja Magus Imperium’ gives an initially brooding and choral entrance before it erupts.
With most of the rest of the set built on their latest effort, it shows how strong a place the band are in with not only one of their strongest catalogue entries but in how formidable a presence they are today without missing a beat. The likes of ‘Born From The Serpent’s Eye’ and ‘Fires Roar In The Palace Of The Moon’ are sprawling entities that change and captivate throughout, before of the undeniably epic ‘I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks And Roots’ closes the night. All the while the audience is completely transfixed with seldom a peep, even during the band’s more solemn passages.
With this being their second UK trek in two years and still pulling what seemed like a near capacity crowd, its clear just how missed the band was in those long five years without crossing the ocean, and tonight is a testament as to why. Black Metal has an ambiance few other things can create, and in amongst that, Wolves In The Throne Room are a one of a kind entity.