Nothing But Thieves
Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 23/11
Written by: EW on 24/09/2010 10:05:16
This reissue of British black metallers Wodensthrone debut album "Loss" has been timely in allowing me to finally hear a band on record I've seen around the London scene much in recent times. That it is also described as for fans of Negura Bunget, Drudkh and Wolves in the Throne Room...consider that I hardly needed asking twice.
Coming under the 'progressive pagan' branch of the diverse BM tree, Wodensthrone are a band moving forwards by solely looking backwards - their whole premise is built around ancient Britain and strong heathenish feelings set to a musical backdrop most closely recalling those three acts earlier mentioned, but one that sits nicely alongside equally promising rising Brits Winterfylleth and a shared vibe of side-stepping all the clichéd trappings of BM that effectively sum up the Scandinavian scene. As broodily atmospheric opening instrumental "Fyrgenstream" leads immediately into "Leodum On Lande" the sound of a band playing the music of their heart intent on forging their own path is so apparent you be forgiven for thinking this was an established act with years of experience behind them. The repetitive riffing structure that goes into making the long tracks found across "Loss" recalls Wolves in the Throne Room's mastery of the style, yet there are intricacies in the composition of "Upon These Stones" still only appearing to me numerous listens down the line. "Heofungtid" opens with flickers of Primordial's melodic grace about itself before certifiably the best riff of the album kicks the song into life while "Those That Crush the Roots of Blood", built around a template of powerful kick drums and abstract atmospherics sees the band at their most powerful and direct resulting in 10 minutes of blisteringly spiritual black metal.
That "Loss" was recorded in Romania under the nose of Negura Bunget is no surprise considering the depth of emotion and passion - beautifully constructed instrumental "Pillar Of The Sun" is not unlike the very finest of what NB nor fellow Eastern Europeans Drudkh can offer. In this, nor the toughened old-Enslaved feel of "Black Moss" have Wodensthrone broken any boundaries of complexity or technicality in this epic's construction, it is more that a meeting of the finest minds of soulful, earthy pagan BM have come together in the construction one of the best albums to be forged in the genre's individualistic cannon. Devoid of any Satanism or schlock theatrics one gets the feeling listening to "Loss", as they do with Negura Bunget's "Om", Drudkh's "Forgotten Legends" or WITTR's "Black Cascade", that this is the way BM was always meant to be - without the blastbeats or nihilistic elitism it feels the most honest and transcendental of the whole giant genre. A claim as audacious as the 'best British black metal album of all time' would be impossible to quantify but not out of the question for the effort of "Loss" is so mature and strong in every department it's greatness is already but confirmed and a testament to the spirited efforts of but a few on this fair isle.
Download: Leodum On Lande, Heofungtid, Upon These Stones, Pillar Of The Sun
For the fans of: Negura Bunget, Drudkh, Wolves in the Throne Room, Wodensthrone, Enslaved
Reissue date 12.07.2010
Original release date August 2009