Wolves In The Throne Room - Heaven, London

It has been seven years, almost to the day, since I witnessed Wolves In The Throne Room live; in the meantime they have produced two phenomenal records, including this year’s majestic Thrice Woven. With a line-up now also expanded to include live synths and no less than three guitars, this tour promises to be something a little special.

First though we have half an hour of psychedelic French weirdness courtesy of Aluk Todolo. Motorik beats meet droning, wailing guitars in a manner that quickly has the crowd transfixed by the strangeness of it all. As hypnotic as this combination is, it’s still rather monotonous; the short set begins to feel somewhat dragged out by the time we reach the cacophonous end of proceedings.

As hoped, this version of Wolves In The Throne Room in an exhilarating experience in the flesh. The blisteringly heavy blasts go so far as to come out the other side in something approaching a serene, transcendental state; an embrace in darkness so complete that there is nothing else. Though there are mighty peaks and cavernous valleys in the brutality of the onslaught, the intensity never lets up for an instant during their hour plus set. The sheer enormity of the wall of sound generated is staggering, and a beautiful thing to behold.

As is usually the case with Heaven, the drums are too loud to begin with, and the snare in particular threatens to puncture through the guitars’ mesmeric noise. That fear proved unfounded however, as the wash of frenetic riffing and howling feedback assert their dominance. It all comes to a crushing conclusion with the epic ‘I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks And Roots’, twenty minutes of euphoric nihilism that leaves us drained and delighted.

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