Yes, Skull manages to drag his carcass out to see Wolves In The Throne Room with Krallice and a few other bands at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago. Here's his review!
Bands: Wolves In The Throne Room, A Storm of Light, Krallice, Indian
Venue: Bottom Lounge, Chicago
"The day had FINALLY arrived for me to see WITTR for the first time. I had been looking forward to this show for weeks. I left from work at 4:15 pm Saturday afternoon and headed down to Chicago’s west side to Bottom Lounge where they would be performing. I had never been to Bottom Lounge and was curious as to how good of a venue it would be. I arrived at about 5:15pm, almost 3 hours before the doors to the show would open. I’m always too early for shows but I benefited by being able to park on the street just about 100 feet from the front door. Bottom Lounge is very non-descript and I almost drove right past it at first. It sits smack dab in what used to be a very dangerous part of Chicago sitting underneath, and facing, the “L” tracks that run directly above Lake Street. I decided to take a nap while I waited. The trains passed loudly over my head, but so often I didn’t notice it, so I slept OK.
At 6:30pm I crept into the lounge’s bar/restaurant area, which is quite nice by the way, and munched on a veggie burger while nursing a tasty beverage for the next hour and a half. Metalheads trickled into the club at a steady rate while I waited. The doors to the show room opened a little after 8:00pm, and I quickly made my way up in line through the doors.
I immediately went to check out the merchandise area and quickly scooped up a Black Cascade tour shirt. I then moved down the tables and purchased a couple of Krallice shirts from none other than Nick McMaster. He was very pleasant and quite thorough in making sure the shirts I asked for were the size I wanted. I politely told him how much I appreciated that. I then made my way to, and leaned against the soundboard booth and waited for the show to begin.
At 9:00pm, Indian took the stage and began their set. I had never heard Indian and was even too lazy to research them before the show. The first thought that came to my head when they opened up was, “These guys are fucking loud!” A doom trio from Chicago, Indian had their amps cranked so loud my whole body was shaking. I thought of the “brown notes” that sunnO))) are rumored to play and wondered if I might just have an involuntary bowel movement during this set. I decided to roll the dice and wait to find out. Indian are incredibly heavy and simplistic sludge but there was nothing special about their set. They put out a good effort but the first three songs all sounded the same. To their credit though, the fourth song of the set was a bit more dynamic and did catch my attention as well as the attention of the rest of the crowd. Indian left the stage to mild applause.
OK, up next was Krallice from New York. I’ve had their self-titled debut for some time and like it immensely but have to admit I have not given it the time and attention it deserves and could probably count the amount of times I’ve listened to it in its entirety with both hands and a foot, but I was really looking forward to seeing them live. After a quick changeover they took the stage and took extra time perfecting their last minute sound check. They then ripped into their short set and all I can say is they stunned the crowd into submission. They played their progressive black metal with a ferocity that I have rarely seen in my 25 or so years as a metalhead. It was simply amazing and mind blowing. These guys have so much going on at once; I was simply floored that they could all stay together. They wrapped up their phenomenal set to light applause. It was simply too difficult for everyone to clap and pick their jaws up off the floor at the same time. With one more release these guys deserve to headline. If Krallice comes to your town, you should skip work, leave your fiancé at the altar, or leave the kids home alone. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! Do not miss this band!!!
After another quick set change, A Storm Of Light, also from New York, took the stage. ASOL are another band I have not heard of. They are a heavy, doomy , post rock-ish type of band. They had a white screen in the back of the stage with visuals of nature, sea life etc going on throughout the set. They are a trio, like Indian, but also had a young lady on stage with them for their last three songs for additional vocals. ASOL played very cleanly and professionally, and at any other time I probably would have really enjoyed the set, but they were just out of place on this bill. Krallice had me pumped, but then ASOL down shifted the energy level and left me feeling flat and unenthused. They are a good band but they should latch on to a tour with Isis or Jesu, for example, to really compliment their style.
There was another quick change, and then WITTR took the stage to finish up their sound check and that’s when I noticed something odd. It dawned on me that the crowd had thinned out! I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. How could this be? It was late, about 11:45 pm, but come on! I had to work the following morning and I was still there. For Christ’s sake, I would have stuck around if the place caught on fire! Wolves then turned up the blue lights and the fog machine and tore into their own signature style of purifying black metal. I had very high expectations for their show and they did not disappoint. They were just incredible! They were everything I had hoped for and more. I won’t let any cats out of the bag but it wasn’t a surprise that they basically stuck to their last two releases with their song selections. My old man head was thrashing like mad and I loved every minute of it! My only complaint was that the set was too short. They stopped at 1:00 am sharp. The thinner crowd gave WITTR roaring applause as they nonchalantly began to tear down their set.
I then headed out the door for my journey home. WITTR were awesome and I loved the set, but it was Krallice that really got my attention on this night, and it was Krallice that I chose to blast at full tilt on my long ride home..."
Here's Skull's t-shirt haul!
Here's my review of "Black Cascade" from awhile back...
Wolves In The Throne Room- Black Cascade
Frankly, it would be hard to top “Two Hunters”, Wolves In The Throne Room’s last full-length, a transformative black metal album that vaulted Wolves in The Throne Room to the top of the avant-garde black metal heap in 2007. Not surprisingly, the album garnered the number one spot on my top ten list for that year. “Two Hunters” is a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic display of the true epic nature that can be achieved within black metal, but is exceedingly difficult to reach and is attained by only very few bands, and then not very consistently at that.
Somewhat unfairly, the expectations become enormous for a band that is able to attain greatness with an album. Most bands realize this and noticeably shift gears after setting the bar so high, but with usually mixed results. “Black Cascade”, the latest full-length from Wolves In The Throne Room on Southern Lord Records, represents such a shift. On “Black Cascade”, Wolves In The Throne Room adopt a much more straightforward approach to black metal. The calm moments of introspection and clean female vocal harmonies that were such an integral part of “Two Hunters” and, to a lesser extent, “Diadem of 12 Stars” have largely been excised. Instead, a much more traditional approach to black metal has been adopted with plenty of blasts, loud rasps from Nathan Weaver, fast chord progression riffs, and, to some extent, the typical song structures of raw black metal. The huge harmonies that wash over the listener are still present, as is the slow build to a crescendo on very long songs (the album contains four tracks), but “Black Cascade” does not propel the genre forward as “Two Hunters” most certainly did.
I suppose that I should digress here and briefly mention “Malevolent Grain”, a two song, vinyl release only EP that has just appeared from the band, as well. The two songs present on “Malevolent Grain” reside much more firmly in the realm of the avant-garde than those found on “Black Cascade”, and still show the band as experimenting with sounds outside of the typical genre elements of black metal.
At any rate, the end result of “Black Cascade” is a solid album within black metal that is still, undoubtedly, a release from Wolves In The Throne Room. Would I characterize the album as transformative? Probably not, and for that reason, probably unfairly, I would describe my reaction as one of mild disappointment. Do I still highly recommend the album to both devotees of Wolves In The Throne Room and to the casual listener? Absolutely.