Since their inception, Wolves In The Throne Room have continually pushed the boundaries of metal, both musically and philosophically. While other bands may have followed their lead, their idiosyncratic take on the genre feels unique, expansive and connected to the primal forces of their native Pacific Northwest.
WITTR was formed in Olympia, WA in 2003 by Aaron and Nathan Weaver (drums and guitar respectively). Their signature cascading layers of guitar, howling vocals and pounding blast beats bely a wide range of influence including Black Metal, Funeral Doom, Death Metal, Crust, Goth, Dark Ambient and Folk. Visually and lyrically they have explored themes of death, ancient mythologies, heathen lore and the Cascadian wilderness, while the name itself evokes the image of wild creatures destroying the world.
Their first full length LP–the raw, analog Diadem of the 12 Stars (2006, re-issued in 2016) was recorded by the duo and second guitarist Rick Dahlin on a shoestring budget at Louder Studios in San Francisco by Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses). It prominently features guest vocalists, a recurring trend for WITTR; in this case Jamie Myers (Hammers of Misfortune), who recorded whilst nine months pregnant, and Dino Sommese (Asunder / Dystopia).
In 2007 the band signed with Southern Lord and released Two Hunters, the start of a loose trilogy and their first collaboration with producer Randall Dunn (also known for his work with Sunn O))), Earth etc…) and Persian classical singer Jessika Kenney. A combination of depressive metal, tribal dirges, dark ambient, acoustic folk and sacred choral music, it has been described by Aaron as ”a mythic prehistory of sorts. The lyrical themes and ideas we were thinking about while writing and recording were tied to a past that was lost and hidden, something that felt inaccessible to us.”
Black Cascade was formulated as a mirror image to this, where Two Hunters is intentionally moonlit and smoky... A void-like representation of the chaotic, Dionysian side. Black Cascade is solar and Apollonian, almost patriarchal. The two records balance each other—the horned god as opposed to the goddess. Will Lindsay replaced Rick Dahlin on guitar for these sessions and the accompanying EP Malevolent Grain.
Completing the trilogy was 2011’s Celestial Lineage. Composed entirely by the two Weavers, it featured their widest array of collaborators including Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Old Man Gloom) and the return of Jessika Kenney. Thematically, the record saw WITTR turn their gaze skyward and encapsulate an astral energy. Using visualization techniques, they wrote music focused on vivid imagery. Orienting attention upwards towards the heavens rather than downward towards the bowels of the Earth.
Considering Celestial Lineage the natural end of an era for the band, they wound down touring and retreated from public life in early 2012 to concentrate on non-musical endeavors; Aaron’s son was born & Nathan opened a venue in Olympia.
In 2014 they returned quietly, launching their own label, Artemisia, in order to take complete creative control of their art & business dealings. Their first release was Celestite, an ambient and experimental companion piece to Celestial Lineage. It used for its basis the analog synths buried deep in Celestial Lineage’s atmospherics. Forefronting an atmospherically nuanced side of the band that has oft been overlooked.
They are currently writing new material for an as yet unnamed new LP and will tour in the fall of 2016.