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Along with 'Black Cascade' from the same year, 'Malevolent Grain' witnessed a new incarnation of Wolves In The Throne Room, a slightly cleaner, more sharply produced, and less organic band that had also seen lineup changes. 'Malevolent Grain' features two songs for the band. While the past three full length albums have had four tracks each, this two song piece feels almost like half an album, although the incomplete feeling does not take away from the relative strength of these two tracks. While I have never been a real fan of Wolves In The Throne Room, 'Malevolent Grain' stands as being a good slice of post-black metal, that I cannot see not satisfying the band's more dedicated listeners.
The first of these tracks is 'A Looming Resonance', which is an oddly melodic track for Wolves In The Throne Room. It also holds the distinction of being a song by the band that is completely led by clean vocals, here being the female vocals of Jaime Meyers, of Hammers of Misfortune. It is a mid-tempo track that has much more to do with post metal than anything grim and frostbitten; while repetitive and brooding, Meyers' vocals are powerful, and the track builds its melancholy quite well. The lyrical hook 'time stands still' stays in the listeners head, even long after this EP is over.
'Hate Crystal' is the second half of 'Malevolent Grain', and it is alot more typical for Wolves In The Throne Room. The first section of this song revolves around the same monotonous guitar picking and blastbeats that I tend to associate this band with, and it sounds more or less like a song from 'Black Cascade' that didn't quite make it. The second section of this song is a section of extended ambiance that closes off the EP, and it doesn't feel all too necessary, but it is a nice enough touch.
'A Looming Resonance' is an excellent track from this band, and while 'Hate Crystal' doesn't match up, it's a typical track for the band that fans will likely dig. Not a particularly vibrant release, but it's been worth checking out.