On a brisk fall evening we arrive at SPACE Gallery in down town Portland and await the avant-garde Black Metal explosion that was set to begin. Emma Parsons and my self make a home stage left where we can sit comfortably and still see the bands. All around the room are the banners that have been closed while all the other bands play as not to ruin the experience that Wolves In The Throne Room delivers.
The venue is an art gallery by day with a small stage. Yet, the bands managed to fit comfortably by a hair with back lines and two large steel beams at either side.
First to grace the stage on this ride we are about to embark on to black metal meets Andy Warhol are New Hampshire’s own Northern Curse, a blackened hardcore three-piece they definitely set themselves apart from the pack. Strange and sonically refreshing, Northern Curse had raw visceral passages often mixed with keyboards and longer atmospheric parts as well. Playing mostly in darkness, there were some projections being cast on the band as they played. This made them stand out in a Black Metal crowd and gets a huge thumbs up from this writer.
Next was Maine’s “unique” outfit of Feral. Unique is a word I would use loosely when talking about Feral but it seems they have quite the following considering their associated band Falls of Ruros who I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews however, this was not on the same level. While use of corpse paint is common it really helps solidify the look if the WHOLE band is decked out, not just the singer and the drummer. The singer of course being a petite young lady who was the mouth piece for the woodland creatures of what ever part of Maine they happened to be from. They looked the part, while one guitarist played with no shoes and the bassist mostly with his back to the crowd and head banging to the one side, his rather large braid was hanging.
I try and give every band a fair chance to show me what they got, but I knew early on that Feral was not for me, between dis jointed playing awful tone and what looked like over all confusion amongst band members the sound was just bad. This was my cue to step out side after making my way through most of their set.
Feral had ended and now began the set up time for WITTR and both bands ran a little early so the crew took their time setting up and setting the mood as it were, smoke incense and low lighting. Barry White would be jealous!
Primarily comprised of brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver who are the drummer and guitarist/lead singer, but Aaron was absent this tour. Recently the group had re-issued their first album Diadem of 12 Stars (2006) on their own label Artemisia Records, with new packaging and artwork that was more befitting of the music on the record, and this tour is in support of it.
There was almost no lights on when Wolves played in a smoke-filled room bodies pushing to be closer to the small stage in hopes of breaking the smoke barrier that added to the atmosphere of the show.
Six songs spanning the bands’ career clocking in at over 80 minutes, with instrumental interludes and segues; Wolves In The Throne Room live was nothing short of beautiful, a room full of people taking a trip of sorts in a communal way with an amazing band.
If you haven’t listened to WITTR before, you should, and if you have the chance to see them perform live , TAKE IT. It’s something to be experienced at least once.
WORDS BY ANDREW FRANCIS