Candlelight Records 2012
1.The Remaining Few 2.Jormungandr 3.First Light 4.The Great Darkness
5.Battle Lines 6.Wyrgthu 7.The Storm 8.The Name Of The Wind
The follow up to the bands 2009 debut ‘Loss’ has been highly anticipated, the eager hordes hoping for more of the same, social network sites a frenzy of gossip in anticipation and it’s fair to say that the instant the play button is pressed it is obvious they are not going to be let down. ‘The Remaining Few’ is a soft acoustic guitar intro which guides us gently into the storm that is ‘Jormungandr’, an absolute torrent of malice and hate, scathing guitars are accompanied by well-balanced keyboards which never threaten to overpower as can be so often heard on a lot of BM releases. Vocally, it’s as strong a performance as you’re likely to see from a BM vocalist in the genre, real depth to the vocals and never afraid to add variety by using more shouted/growled vocals. The song breaks out into a very melodic passage, keyboards and acoustic guitars taking the lead and guiding the song to its conclusion. Chanted / sung clean vocals used to end the song and working brilliantly amongst all the melody with almost tribal like drum patterns layered underneath to great effect.
‘First Light’ slows the pace right down, the harsh black metal tremolo picked guitars leading the way, the keyboards and drums set a mournful pace with real atmosphere and tension being built until the song is finally 'set free' in a whirlwind of hateful black metal, a more familiar pace being assumed. The atmosphere created at the beginning of the track is never lost when the pace is upped, the keyboards and guitars managing to retain this and hold it all in place. When a folk influenced section is introduced, it gives the track a whole new feel, with what sounds like a flute accompanying slow, melodic keyboards and acoustic guitars. It’s a great change in direction and adds a whole new dimension to the track before normality returns with the more familiar black metal approach. As the track fades out it begins to take on a really epic feel, the mid-paced drumming and guitar work really guide the song to its conclusion splendidly, and as seen before, the atmosphere being stirred becomes haunting. ‘The Great Darkness’ opens up slightly differently, hateful spoken vocals introducing the song alongside some almost dischordant guitar work. This section almost acts as an intro to the song until the more familiar black metal style is assumed shortly after and when introduced sounds extremely brutal. There’s a real sense of urgency to the faster sections and the atmosphere is never lost amongst the speed which once again makes for a great finale to the song. As the song reaches its conclusion there’s a hint of folk inspired riffing re-introduced which works extremely well and only adds to the excellent ending.
‘Battle Lines’ follows on well, tempos again being mixed from the slow, mournful and atmospheric through to the scathing and hate lead faster end of the spectrum. Twin guitars work really well in this track, one playing higher up the fret board to the other, giving one guitar an almost ‘lead guitar’ feel to it without ever threatening to become a lead in the real sense of the term, compelling stuff. This is an absolute monster of a track, clocking in at over eleven minutes, however, it never feels long or drawn out, the atmosphere more than enough to keep the listener engaged for such a long time. Add to that the structure of the song, mixing melodic acoustic passages with the faster black metal sections there is more than enough variety to hold your attention. The keyboards appear to take the lead as the song ends which only adds to the atmosphere already created. ‘Wyrgthu’ is another master class in writing atmospheric black metal. Melody once again at the forefront, with the hate-filled vocals adding a stark comparison to the music. Devastating is an apt description here, even when the band are playing the more mid-paced sections, it still sounds devastating and when the faster sections are unleashed all hell breaks lose. The keyboards have real impact here, being pushed to the front of the song, leading the song into what feels like utter oblivion. Ending the track is an utterly crushing and suffocating guitar riff, slowing the pace to a (funeral) crawl. ‘The Storm’ is exactly that, blasting open harshly in complete comparision to the ending of the previous track. Scathing black metal guitars leading the way, this is as brutal as the band has sounded so far and there is no let up throughout most of the track. Extremely brutal black metal of the highest order, this cannot fail to impress. The finale to this masterpiece is
‘The Name of The Wind’, acoustic guitars accompany sampled wind effects before a folk/mediaeval passage is introduced, melody again at the forefront of the song, the synths and guitars once again create a bleak atmosphere and when the vocals are introduced create a true sense of desperation and despair. As this final track matures, the tension in the song begins to rise, almost feeling that the “big ending” isn’t far away. However, the band break with what feels like “the right thing to do” and slow proceedings down completely, the pace reduced to an absolute crawl with lead guitars taking over, vocals used sparsely but to great effect, the anguished cries of desperation really cutting through. Wind and wind chime sounds fading out and marking the end of the journey that is "The Storm". It is fair to say that Wodensthrone have produced one of the greatest UKBM albums for a very long time, the atmosphere created throughout the entire album is absolutely compelling and when the band up the pace the final result is utterly devastating. Not only a highlight to the UKBM scene, this will probably a highlight in the black metal scene worldwide. Fans of the band will not be disappointed by this release at all, it shows a band who have matured since their debut release and have improved vastly, showing a more mature approach to song compositions and structures. If you thought ‘Loss’ was amazing, then ‘Curse’ is going to absolutely pummel you into the ground. If you’re into the band and into black metal, you definitely cannot be without this release!
9 out of 10