Wolves in the Throne Room Talk Their Synth Makeover with 'Celestite'

Wolves in the Throne Room Talk Their Synth Makeover with 'Celestite'
When it was first announced that the new Wolves in the Throne Room album would not just be a companion to 2011's Celestial Lineage but also devoid of vocals, drums and guitars, fans were surprised. Those three components are key to the Olympia, WA band's core; the decision to not use them on new album Celestite (out July 8 via their own Artemisia imprint) left some scratching their heads. To the band, it felt like a natural next step to make an album mostly composed of synthesizers — especially when they no longer identify as black metal.

"There is a long tradition of bands exploring both black metal and ambient music," explains multi-instrumentalist Aaron Weaver to Exclaim! "That being said, WITTR have evolved to the point that the black metal label doesn't feel very relevant to me."

Weaver and his brother Nathan, who make up the band, have used synths heavily throughout the group's history. They've long considered making an album based entirely around synthesizer sounds for a while now. It just made sense to do it now.

"The sounds that dominate Celestite are in the mix of our other records, it's just that they are just barely audible underneath the guitars and drums. But those more psychedelic, strange sounds are very interesting to me. For us, creating an immersive atmosphere is our objective. Washes of layered guitar and processed synth sounds all accomplish the same thing."

The decision to follow Celestial Lineage with a companion came from the Weavers' difficulty in letting that album go. Instead of moving on to something else, they felt the need to revisit and expand the work.

"That album didn't feel quite 'done' to me," he says. "Recording Celestial Lineage was so hard, and so psychologically draining that we felt like we had to go back to that material to finish up some things. It's a personal thing that I don't expect anyone else to understand."

Immersing themselves in synthesizers, Weaver says, will also change how some of their older material will sound when they tour the West Coast this summer, which includes a date in Vancouver on July 13. Just don't expect them to use those for any material from the new album.

"I'll bring some synthesizers with me to expand on the more improvisational parts of our set," he says. "But we'll be exclusively playing songs off of our previous albums. Celestite was very much a 'studio project.'"

As for what their next full-length will sound like, Weaver added, "We've got no plans for the time being. It's summer time. We don't write music in the summer."