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Wolves In The Throne Room – “Born From The Serpent’s Eye”

thrice woven

After a three-year drought, and following a synthesizer detour on 2014’s Celestite, Wolves In The Throne Room are back.

“Born From The Serpent’s Eye,” the first track from the upcoming Thrice Woven, is also accompanied by the band’s first-ever music video, which you can watch via NPR here.

Feautring the band performing in a dimly lit field surrounded by smoke and fire, the music video is a honest approximation of the band’s mystical live performances, but is otherwise unremarkable. The real treat is the song itself (which, interestingly enough, is twice as long as the music video).

Wolves In The Throne Room begin where they left off on their last black metal record, 2011’s Celestial Lineage. “Born From The Serpent’s Eye” opens with an acoustic motif before erupting with a mix of keys and tremolo-picked guitars that evoke a sweeping view of a Pacific Northwestern wooded landscape. Unlike other Wolves In The Throne Room songs, this one moves rapidly from one idea to the next, like they are making up for lost time. This new pace allows listeners to forego the patience normally required for this band’s work in exchange for sheer excitement.

There are some new additions to the fold too, like the buzzsaw riff that closes out the music video. Combined with relatively dry production, the sudden aggression is uncharacteristic for Wolves In The Throne Room, but welcome after a dry spell. It’s no surprise, though: they’ve changed their approach with the addition of longtime live guitarist and former Fall Of The Bastards member Kody Keyworth to the official lineup. While “Born From The Serpent’s Eye” is far from a Fall Of The Bastards song, it does suggest that the band’s arsenal has expanded since Keyworth joined.

The music video’s sudden cutoff is an interesting move, in part because doing a “video edit” seems unusual for a band prone to lengthy songs, but also because “Born From The Serpent’s Eye” really takes off in its second half. With help from Anna Von Hausswolff, Wolves In The Throne Room slows the pace and reminds the world why they are the biggest name in atmospheric black metal. Von Hausswolff, whose spooky, organ-led 2015 release The Miraculous absolutely deserves a listen, dominates the song’s bridge with densely layered harmonies. When the full band returns in force for the track’s climax, the ghostly ambience of Von Hausswolff’s contributions carry over, breathing air back into the mix and allowing the song to close on a high note. The coda is as haunting a progression as anything on the Wolves In The Throne Room’s last few records, so if you were worried that they’d lost a step on Celestite, you can now rest easy.

You can pre-order Thrice Woven here. And for kicks, listen to Anna Von Hausswolff’s The Miraculous below.

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