Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog
Superlatives like “gorgeous” and “beautiful” are hardly used when describing black metal, but Olympia, Washington’s Wolves In the Throne Room have tapped into a vein of the genre that expands its more ambient backdrops to create a third studio album that is as bewitching as it is dark. “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog” opens Black Cascade with an immediate release of drum blasts as Nathan Weaver screams incantations like an age-old woodland necromancer casting spells. Almost halfway through the song, the peripheral ambient soundscapes become the movement’s vanguard, liquefying into a bottomless lake of sound. “Ahrimanic Trance” builds on more ghostly backdrops while guitars continuously ascend against a relentless rhythms section that rains down ferociously. Field recordings of running river water introduce the dramatic “Ex Cathedra,” before “Crystal Ammunition” approximates frostbitten landscapes with over 14 minutes of savage turbulence.