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I think I'm one of the few people I know that actually doesn't mind sitting through movie trailers in a theater. It's almost spring, so soon if I should decide to grab a seat at my local cinema, I will probably be treated to a multitude of trailers for what's known as "the summer blockbusters". Explosions, impressive visual effects, a dramatic score, and many other things that would probably make me justify the warrant of grabbing a ticket. However, when I really sit down and think about these things, I cannot deny the sheer superficiality of the trailer itself. I wonder, "Is there going to be really anything cohesive about this movie if I were to strip away the visuals? The protagonist is probably going to be very one dimensional, the plot will have holes the size of Mars in it, and at the end of the day, what is this movie going to do for me that others have not?". This is about how I feel about "Malevolent Grain".
This two song EP is being established as sort of a preview for Wolves in the Throne Room's next album entitled "Black Cascade", and it leaves me with feelings just like the aforementioned "movie trailer" (except with a much smaller budget, obviously). It consists of two songs, the first being "A Looming Resonance", and let me tell you, it's a fantastic song. Without a doubt, this song would be the "special effects" of this EP. Featuring very ethereal female vocals, this song manages to create a very soothing ambiance with quiet guitars and a nice drum beat to keep the pace going. It's rather mid-paced, and the vocals aren't loud in the mix at all, assuring that a pretty voice isn't the only thing going on. If you can find this EP for cheap, I'd say it's worth it just for this song alone.
Unfortunately, like the summer blockbuster, the special effects usually make the movie. The same can be said for the female vocal parts in Wolves in the Throne Room's songs, which is very disheartening.
The reason this EP is getting an only slightly above average score is because of the ridiculously titled "Hate Crystal". If you asked me to describe it, I would probably say "It sounds like Wolves in the Throne Room", which isn't a bad thing per se', but not necessarily a good thing either. The song starts, and for its almost eleven minute duration, doesn't really stop. The riffs just keep going, the snare keeps cracking, the vocals keep screeching, and there's hardly a break at all. That would be fine if the song wasn't as long as it is, and if the low-fi riffs didn't have such a dry feel to them, but unfortunately that's all I can really say about this number. It's Wolves in the Throne Room at their most uncreative. This song is the poorly paced, cut and paste military conspiracy plot of the said "summer blockbuster".
All in all, I like Wolves in the Throne Room, thought they obviously get far too much regard. It's not music I listen to often, and when I do I usually use it as background noise. Though neither of these songs are on the forthcoming album, the thought that they could be turning out material like this makes me nervous, and I will probably end up downloading this album before deciding if a purchase is warranted. Again, "A Looming Resonance" is an amazing song, and makes up about fifty percent of the given score. But do you really want to shell out the money for one good song on what is soon to be a rare album?
I'm hoping this was just a hastily recorded cash grab by the band, and that "Black Cascade" will end up being a fine album, but judging by the jargon spitting, meat head protagonist of this EP (Hate Crystal), that's unfortunately all I can do; Hope.