Wolves in the Throne Room Celestial Lineage

Wolves in the Throne Room Celestial Lineage
This year, black metal is having a resurgence, or at least has grown in popularity on North American shores. Portland's Agalloch and New Yorkers Lithurgy and Krallice, and to a slightly lesser extent, the awesome Tombs, have had banner years, but there's something about these Yanks that, while extremely impressive, is distinctly American and contemporary in sound. Olympia's Wolves in the Throne Room's Celestial Lineage hearkens back to the original Scandinavian ethos, but they make it their own, eschewing modernization for nature, the earth and purity. Incorporating the traditional blast beats, frenetic guitar riffs and howling, childlike vocals into their rapturous soundscapes of nature, the album is a wonderment of creativity that stays true to its foundation, minus the nihilism, let's hope. The band's fifth offering also welcomes back the celestial vocals of Jessika Kenney (last heard on 2006's Diadem of 12 Stars), most notably on opener "Thuja Magus Imperium," which sets the stage and directs the mood for the album ― fragility, thoughtfulness and a collective desire to make pure art, rather than a concerted effort to make a philosophical statement. (Southern Lord)