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(Originally posted by me to the Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)
The winter of 2011-2012 was so fucking boring compared to the winters of past years. I had intended to use the scenic winter landscape to write several reviews for some winter themed metal albums and only got around to doing four since the snow barely stayed on the ground long enough to offer any scenic visual inspiration. So, it's sad to see the season come and go without leaving a lasting effect; but in its place, snowfall gives way to rainstorms, and there's definitely a few albums to be found and reviewed that are scenic like the rainstorm. Loss by Wodensthrone is one such album.
This rainstorm-like atmosphere on Loss is very reminiscent of Zîrnindu-să by Negura Bunget and was even recorded at Negura Studio with (former) NB frontman Huppogrammos present. With this musical shaman's blessing, Loss was given life in Romania where Negura Bunget drew inspiration from their region's spiritual heathen past. Wodensthrone also draws inspiration from their home country's pre-Christian roots, and there's such deepness to this ideology in regards to a more natural sounding landscape.
It is very rare that an intro track leaves a lasting impression on me, but damn! "Fyrgenstréam" is one of the best intro tracks I've ever heard! The calling of crows, whispering vocals, a somber sounding acoustic guitar line, layers of somber sounding keyboards as the vocals and guitars go on, all building on each other to provide a somber but incredibly epic atmosphere as the rainstorm approaches.
"Let me take upon myself this curse. Let my bloodline die with me. Let the great wind sing a lament to this land where nobility is no more."
After that, the storm kicks itself off with "Leódum on Lande"; and like a rainstorm, the music is dreary, yet purifying at the same time. The songs contain an even mix of fast blast beat/tremolo sections and slower paced sections. In songs like "Heófungtid", the music is played at a higher key, alleviating the dreary tone, yet maintaining the epic, purifying tone. At the heart of the aforementioned purifying tone is the keyboards and how well their master, Æðelwalh, utilizes them. The best part about them though is that, while they are prominent, they don't override the guitars in the album which are well produced and include bits of acoustic work involved.
It's like Drudkh meets Negura Bunget meets Wolves in the Throne Room. If you love any or all of those bands, you'll really want to look into Loss. At the same time, though, I've never felt like Wodensthrone were ever ripping on any of those bands. They've definitely got their own thing going on that makes this album totally enjoyable without making me think twice about it.