I must say, "Celestial Lineage", the latest seven-song/49-minute offering from Wolves in the Throne Room (released by Southern Lord), has recaptured my interest in the band. I was a big fan of "Diadem of 12 Stars", but for whatever reason I sort of lost interest after that. I've maintained a respect for and a curiosity regarding their subsequent efforts, but just haven't paid that much attention for the last few years. I really dig the aesthetic of the cover art for this album, though, so maybe that was (stupidly) enough to draw me in for a complete listen? I don't know, but whatever the case, I like what I'm hearing, so I should certainly re-investigate all of the band's output in between.
At its core, this material is powered by the same aptly raw, pulsing black metal and sneering vocals that made the band's debut so powerful—accented by simplistic lead melodies reminiscent of early Agalloch, as well as some subtly melodic ambient tones and droning, choral vocals (all of which add to the somewhat hypnotic elements of the songwriting). And where atmospheric elements can often detract from the force of an album as a whole, in this case they succeed in simply adding to the overall feeling. For instance, there's a certain quality level achieved by the chant-like calls, low-end hums, and windy field recordings of ritualistic interlude "Permanent Changes in Consciousness" that's all too rare. And the female vocals scattered throughout the album add further dimension to such "ritualistic" characteristics with truly eerie effect (most notably during "Woodland Cathedral", where they remain the focus for the duration of the piece). Opening track, "Thuja Magus Imperium", is probably the single composition that best suggests the variety of approaches one might expect from "Celestial Lineage" in its entirety:
For collectors, the album is also available as a deluxe double-LP combo that includes an exclusive t-shirt design, so... you know what to do!