A busy year for Wolves in the Throne Room kicked off with an eardrum crunching two track vinyl ‘Malevolent Grain’ that heralded their third foray into eco-spiritual inspired black metal cacophonously well.
And so to the album proper and the Washington based group (soon to be Cascadia if they had their way) once more score a powerful and stunningly crafted hit.
The Black Cascade, much like its predecessor Two Hunters incorporates a lo-fi progressive sound into what would otherwise be excellent but straightforward USBM.
‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ for example opens, if only briefly, with field recordings of heavy rain before blasting into a blizzard of black metal riffs, while ‘Ahrimanic Trance’ explodes onward, complemented by tortured vocals and a morose and nihilistic dirge of a guitar riff that steadies and themes the track, making it stand out with prominence in the four track album.
Later ‘Ex Cathedra’ manages to once more incorporate field recordings into the opening, creating not just atmosphere but an organic, alfresco feel, as if the whole album was recorded live in the rain mist forest of the Pacific Northwest while ‘Crystal Ammunition’ ends on a fast and aggressive high, putting drummer Aaron Weaver through his paces via a drum beat so rapid and dominant it’s a wonder hell itself didn’t open up beneath him as he played.
Again much like with Two Hunters, The Black Cascade has its real achievements in the visionary mixing of the album; its lo-fi and at times barely audible mix continues to provide an organic, grass roots feel and is no doubt a key factor in why, conceptually at least, Wolves in the Throne Room are considered harbingers of a new wave of progressive black metal, ‘The Black Cascade’ being testament to the matter.