Wolves In The Throne Room (Review)
Crowbar, Brisbane QLD
November 29th, 2019
Supports: Empress, Hope Drone & King
Heavy metal is a genre of ritual.
You start by listening to a band. You consume them. You obsess over them. You might even share it with your friends and then finally you see the band live. The ritual is complete.
You take all that pain, anger, sorrow, frustration and you release it into the musical void and you come out the other end. Changed. Renewed, and ready to do it all over again with some other band, at some other time. Over and over again, until your bones are dust, and we’re reduced to nothing.
That’s what tonight is all about. It’s about the ritual of heavy metal.
Or maybe I’m just a wanky fuck who drank too much last night. It’s probably that. But whatever.
Anyway. Let’s talk about those bands.
With their lead singer draped in a shawl of red and backed by the kind of songs that would make any band in this genre envious.
Empress is the opening act you wish you could see at a show. Each song is dripping in pain and aching with beauty in equal measure and it is indeed a sight to behold in a live setting. The lead singer finishes their set on the floor of the venue, surrounded by people who can only stare in awe, as the noise emanating from her microphone resembles the aural equivalent of swallowing broken glass and rolling around in your own blood.
Hope Drone take this momentum and just grind your bones to dust under the weight of their immense songs. Each song drips with venom. It’s like having your skin flayed – each riff and vocal takes another bite out of your skin until you’re nothing but a heaving bulk left screaming on the floor, crushed by the intensity of their live performance. Seeing Hope Drone live is like being eaten alive and if tonight is anything to go by, they can rip me apart any time.
King, on the other hand, comes off more like the lovechild of Enslaved and Amon Amarth. Their performance just emanates charisma in every action they do onstage until their lead singer has his vice-like grip wrapped around you in the warm embrace of their melodic, hard-hitting riffs and impressive vocal stylings. King is just fucking fun, cool, and at times funny, they are the much-needed antidote from the previous two acts who left you feeling like you were being choked.
And now… It’s the band we have all been waiting for.
Walking onto the stage tonight, there is a vague hint of something in the air. It smells of Earth. It smells of rot. It smells of decay.
Before they even step onto the stage, Wolves In The Throne Room has already taken a hold of your mind, body and soul and as the instrumental track gives way to the opening song you have no choice, but to give in to the ritual, and let the band take you down with them into the abyss.
And that’s the beauty of tonight. The band does not speak the entire time. They let the music do the talking for them. Each note and track they play radiates under the strain of beauty and atmosphere so intense it should leave you in a puddle of your own tears. Maybe it’s the incense being burned somewhere in the venue and it’s fucking with my head. But tonight feels magical. Like you’re on a wild ride in the forest and Wolves In Throne Room is the guidepost that unfolds itself around you.
They play everything from their newer more atmospheric work to the early more “traditional” black metal and everything hits you in all the right places tonight. The sound. The lights. The mix. It all coalesces together into giving you one of the performances of the year and maybe something more akin to a religious experience. If you believe in that sort of thing.
Wolves In The Throne Room may have taken almost a decade to come back to Australia. But the intensity of the performance tonight has more than made up for it. Hopefully, it won’t be another decade before they decide to hurl our bones into the void once again.
Reviewed by: Kaydan Howison @Unicorn_Christ
Wolves in the Throne Room
Wolves In The Throne Room – Australian Tour 2019
December 2nd @ The Basement, Canberra, ACT