By: Chris Davison
...and so it is that Wodensthrone, have released their second full length album. The northern English outfit have an enviable reputation for quality extreme metal, though to be honest they're not a band that I had heard from before this album. Perhaps it was the “black metal” tag that had put me off, as regular readers will know that I am generally not a huge fan of the genre, being put off by the hordes of lo-fi bedroom warriors producing albums which all sound like vibrators being kept in tin cans. Turns out, though, that I've been missing out to a considerable degree.
Much like fellow (and connected) British outfit Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone celebrate their English heritage with a folk brand of black metal inspired extreme metal. The requisite building blocks of black metal are here – the shrieked vocals, the extremely rapid riffing and relatively high pitched guitar tones, yet the war like drumming and keyboards expand this into something altogether more epic and vast. For example, “Wyrgthu,” manages to bring together a sprawling mental landscape at the same time as having blasting, storm-like passages of ferocious black metal.
The expansive nature of the music is probably best represented by standout track, “The Name of the Wind,” a majestic offering that seemingly has everything to offer within the space of its thirteen minutes. The shrieked vocals, while harsh and as antagonistic as anything offered within black metal, are also decipherable and capable of conveying true emotion. Here though, as elsewhere on the album, is a true feeling of peaks and troughs – of the music crashing against the ears like waves against the cliffs. It's an intoxicating listen, and when played on headphones to shut out the distractions of the waiting world, a satisfying mental exercise in allowing the imagination to explore the landscapes that Wodensthrone offer.
I may not like black metal, but I know that I like this. Excellent, atmospheric and intelligent.