Just recently the American cascadian black metal outfit Wolves in the Throne Room made a comeback in full form. Their latest release "Thrice Woven" showed that they haven't forgotten how to make epic and atmospheric pieces of black metal that take you away to another world for awhile. They embarked on a small European tour and finally they had a stop in Finland as well... So we made the trip to Tavastia Club in Helsinki to get captivated and mesmerized by their magical and harsh music.
As support for their stop in Finland, WITTR got the Finnish band Caskets Open (****) to warm up the crowd. Their slow rock with doomy and atmospheric touch was definitely interesting to discover. The drum rolls and guitar riffs often had a hypnotizing repetitiveness to them, but whenever you might be taken too far away in dreams there was a chance that a sudden burst of punk influenced black metal noise erupted on stage to shake you up. Timo Ketola's hardcore influenced vocals were filled with anger and anguish, going along perfectly with the created soundscape and his bass brought forth a stomach-turning rumbling.
Guitarist Antti Ronkainen went from almost catchy rock riffs, to fast tremolo pickings and slow and doomy heavily distorted sounds, even going to the amps to create a feedback effect when his panel of knobs and pedals wasn't enough. When you closed your eyes to be taken away on the music for a while, whenever you opened your eyes again, you just had to be surprised there was only one guy playing the guitars. Pyry Ojala provided one time slow and steady drums as the rhythmic backbone of the doomy soundscape to suddenly explode into almost blast beat level paced drums. One for one these guys seem very talented people and this obscure and almost unknown little gem should get discovered for sure...
When I discovered the American black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room (*****) a decade ago with their first albums, I was immediately sold by the beautiful nature of their music. And as it is with nature, as beautiful as it is, as relentless, raw and destructive it can be as well. Earlier I saw them at a festival, where the soundcheck of a nearby stage disturbed the soft, melodic and acoustic parts of their long tracks. So personally I was really looking forward to be able to finally see WITTR undisturbed and unchallenged. Since it was an indoors gig, I was very much hoping that they'd be allowed to fill the stage with candles as they often do, but sadly that didn't seem to be the case this time. The lights went out and the guitar fret board lights went on. The overall atmosphere created by the sparse light and plenty of smoke fitted the massive soundscape perfectly.
Their setlist was one of only 6 songs, which is not too surprising since on average each song lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. Two of the tracks, Vastness and Sorrow and The Old Ones Are With Us, came from their latest album Thrice Woven and the rest were some of the best tracks of their earlier albums. Of course I would've loved to hear some more of my favorites, but for the whole time they were playing I didn't even think of that. I lost track of time and space and got carried away by the wall of sound that enveloped me like a welcome blanket of familiarity. There was not a worry in the world and I felt basically at home on my own little spot right at the front of the stage. Absolutely perfection for me personally and definitely one of my favorite shows of the whole year, it could've lasted for the rest of the night and I wouldn't have complained one bit...
Born From the Serpent's Eye
Vastness and Sorrow
The Old Ones Are With Us
Prayer of Transformation
I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots