Released: 2012, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
After a couple of split release records and a stunning Debut 'Loss' which came out on Bindrune recordings, U.K Black Metallers Wodensthrone are back with 'Curse' a superb sophomore effort and their first LP for Candlelight Records.Long epic songs is the name of the game here Black Metal and folk passages intertwined in a wonderful fusion. Nothing has changed drastically from their previous works, but the winning formula has been honed and tweaked to produce their best LP so far.
In terms of lyrics and themes Wodensthrone are representing the Heathen/pagan division of black metal rather than the church burning side of things. They are more concerned with nature and ancestry. This is altogether a different side of Black metal than the more raw and true style some people may be used to. The long drawn out songs and folk elements really suit this style superbly. When they do go into Black metal mode though they are as angry as the best of them, I suppose these two different sides to the band fit well with the themes of nature sometimes peaceful and tranquil, other times nature can be a cruel and savage beast.
Previous record 'Loss' focused more upon the Anglo-Saxon world authentically giving voice to an ancient worldview in today’s modern landscape. With 'Curse' the band has moved on and are now concerned with more universal themes of freedom and spirituality, not ones to shy away from big subjects according to the band 'Curse' "explores mankind’s most inherent and profound spiritual flaw; the instinct to lay the responsibility of our fates at the feet of imagined Gods, to submit without question to the cultural machinery – religious, political, social, economical – that imposes systems of power and control to exploit, enthral, corrupt and oppress."
'Curse' was created at Priory studios in 2011,under the guidance of Greg Chandler (Esoteric) Production is clear and precise. They have avoided going for the dirty Lo-Fi production beloved of many black metal bands and have just gone for a pretty natural sound, which accompanies the music well. They mainly use harsh vocals, but go through extended instrumental passages that allow moments of beauty make a point as strongly as black metal shrieking would have done.
This is a simple production job but intelligently used.
In terms of tracks, this is very much an album to listen to all in one sitting and as such most songs are pretty similar, which is not an insult to the band, in this context it works very well as it makes it feel like an epic story rather than just a few songs lumped together.
The epic closing track “The Name Of The Wind” was my personal favourite and I believe it to be the most dramatic track on the album, a grand finale to an epic windswept journey.
Curse’ is an excellent pagan black metal album with interesting atmosphere, lyrical themes and melodies, and could easily see them propelled to the bigger stage in the near future.
If you are a fan of Helheim, Drudkh, Enslaved or Moonsorrow, you will find much to enjoy here.
Review by James Price