Wolves In The Throne Room on their new album, protecting nature and returning to touring

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Two decades into their journey as ritualistic black metal conjurers, Wolves in the Throne Room have emerged from the forest with Primordial Arcana, their first release via Relapse Records.

Chatting to us via Zoom from the band’s headquarters in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, drummer Aaron Weaver is in good spirits and feeling positive about the prospect of post-pandemic life.

“So many people I talk to talk about the dark side of what has occurred in the past 18 months, the alienation, the loneliness, the death, the paranoia, the fear that people have experienced, but I see the other side,” says Weaver. I hear so many people that talk about how they have taken the time and the solitude to delve into their meditation practice, to maybe reprioritize their life. Maybe they don’t want to work 60 hours a week. Spend more time at home with their family and prioritizing or finding the space or making the space to be in nature and connect with the earth in that way. It’s a hopeful thing for me. I wonder what the fallout will be for millions of people really changing their lives in this radical way and starting practices or reviving practices that I think are truly nourishing to the soul rather than just grinding it out for the corporate overlords.”

The downtime also had the benefit of allowing WITTR to take their time making sure the new record was as good as it could be.

“If COVID hadn’t happened, our record would have come out a year ago and right now I’d be on tour in Europe, then I‘d be coming home, getting ready for another tour. It would have been a pedal-to-the-metal, rather exhausting journey. And the record wouldn’t have been as good as it is. We were able to take a bit of extra time to fix a few things on the record that needed to be fixed that otherwise would not have been fixed. And so I’m grateful that we’ve been able to make use of this time.”

Primordial Arcana is the band’s first completely self-contained work: In addition to composition and performance, brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver alongside guitarist Kody Keyworth handled all aspects of recording, producing and mixing at their own Owl Lodge Studios in the woods of Washington state. The album’s title is a reference to the band’s ongoing reach back to the most ancient, archetypal energies. I ask Aaron how he manages to balance touring life with remaining connected to the place that inspires the band the most.

“We feed off the energy of the people that we meet and the fans that come to our concerts, but the source of the energy for me and for the band is the earth. It is this forest. It is these specific trees, this river, this mountain, these entities of the earth that we have a relationship with and draw inspiration from. And if I didn’t maintain those respectful relationships with the entities of nature, the music would lose its power. It would just become a hollow shell, a facade, and that’s something I’m of course not willing to do because it’s just too important for me to maintain the utmost integrity in that respect.”

The latest release also sees a shift in the band’s sound, with the return of the bass guitar and a more expansive production. Weaver agrees this album is something quite different for WITTR.

“Definitely. Yeah. That’s funny that the only review that has been negative is from our hipster friends, Pitchfork. I read that review yesterday, really the only negative review of our record. And it was a bit annoying because I feel as though the reviewer didn’t actually listen to it. He said, this just sounds like another one of their records, essentially. They didn’t try anything new on this record. And to my ears, this record sounds really different. Not a different band of course, but Wolves In The Throne Room consciously choosing to take a number of risks and step into a very new musical and creative space on a number of levels. The way we record the record, the fact that Kody is writing material with us rather than just me and Nathan. And so that’s one thing that kind of bothers me is when I feel as though people don’t pay attention to what seems to be very obvious to myself and to you that this is a new record, has a very fresh energy. Like it or hate it, it’s something new.”

So when can we expect to see Wolves In The Throne Room back on stage?

“It’s unannounced yet for obvious reasons, but we have every intention of touring in North America as soon as possible. It’s been a long time to be away from the road and we’re feeling really passionate about it and we’re all hoping for the best.”

Watch the full interview with Aaron Weaver below:

Always uncompromising, Primordial Arcana sees WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM stay true to their unique vision. An album born out of the DIY ethos, Primordial Arcana proves to be the band’s most genuine and focused. One of the year’s most ambitious recordings, Primordial Arcana cements WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM’s legacy.

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