Released in 2007, many would agree that “Two Hunters” put Wolves In The Throne Room at the forefront of the black metal scene – and for good reasons. This record does something very interesting by managing to both be “-post” in the sense of offering a departure from raw violent BM, but at the same time, it actually delves in deeper into the heart of the genre.
The sound of this CD, especially on the vinyl version of it, brings to mind the sound of wind. strong, but airy, hard-hitting but ever-flowing. Like this force of nature, echoing with ambiance, the album’s melodies and rhythms can be heard crossing the soundscape as if from afar, through forests and mountains, telling their tale; “Behold The Vastness And Sorrow Of This Empty Land“.
“Behold..” sure is good, but having said that, I do prefer the second half of this 4-tracks album. It is on “Cleansing” and “I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks and Roots” where these throne room-dwelling wolves find new depths filled to the brim with an ambiance you just wanna get lost in; A very strong atmosphere that isn’t just “dark” or “melancholic”, instead having a more open to interpretation intention that, if you read the lyrics, can be actually seen as positive.
The story laid down here is abstractedly descriptive, and does not say anything directly against religion, but it does describe a “dark and fell rider” whose rule of new religion brings sorrow to the land, the narrator finding his only sanctuary in the heart of the woods, where he and the others can continue their ancient rituals and way of life; A pagan believer faced with the threat of christianity, perhaps? Seems probable.
The closing piece brings this tale to an ambivalent, realistic, but hopeful closure: Although(and because) the evildoer’s work has been completed, there is no need to escape any longer. The forest’s now a permanent sanctuary to its inhabitants, giving them a safe haven to unite and even flourish in, strengthening their belief that one day things will change; that “the world will be born a new“. 7/10