Wodensthrone - Loss
Bindrune Recordings
Atmospheric Black Metal
8 songs (69'34")
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

With many notable skeleton icons we have on this site to denote albums there is still an important one lacking – Surprise of the Year. Having made a mistake of giving away an Album of the Year once in my early formative years as a reviewer, I have held on ever since with that tag. Yet, the Surprise is a lot easier to identify, as the whole meaning of the word implies that you were absolutely blindsided, in a good way. You absolutely did not see it coming, but once you had a chance to take the album in, deep in your gut you knew that is the one you have been waiting for a while. A couple of years ago I knew it with Diadem of 12 Stars by Wolves in the Throne Room. And today, having practically lived with this album for a month now, I know it with Loss by UK atmospheric pagan black metallers Wodensthrone. (It is interesting how this genre seems to uncover bands for me, which eventually vault into that big Surprise category.)

In Loss we have some of the most beautiful, thick and textured music, constantly coming in waves, draping around one’s senses, utterly isolating a listener from the sense of reality. Many a band try to go for this nature inspired rustic fullness in their music, but few achieve such mesmerizing swirl which Wodensthrone was able to accomplish on Loss, using the Romanian studio and helping guidance of Negura Bundet members. The feeling of roaming around the Foggy Albion wilderness during ancient druidic times is complete here, without the band having to resort to obvious gimmick melodies. Whatever folky angle the compositions have (Upon These Stones), the tribal strumming never becomes redundant and trite. And if rain and raven cawing effects are present (Fyrgenstream), for once they are entirely believable. The music on Loss is not simply composed, note after note, it is sculpted, as if cut out and eventually turned back into a lasting monolith.

Long and complex, Loss compositions have distinct viewpoints, or so I surmise. Heofungtid has a bit of a militaristic mindset with double bass stirring a pre-battle sense of anxiety and anticipated triumph, before rousing tremolo and subtle keyboard waves create an unbearable desire to plunge into Alcest-like euphoria. Those that Crush the Roots of Blood has more blasting character, with the riff around 6 min leading into dramatic, symphonic and almost cathartic closure. Black Moss is the most disturbing, the most threnodious, the blackest track on the album, invoking darker forces celebrating around the fire, on hallucinogens, before the waves of eerie jangly synthesizer a-la Blut Aus Nord barge in. The closer That Which is Now Forgotten is the saddest lament of them all, but it still has the wild untamed spirit, oozing out of every Wodensthrone pore.

Switching drum beats subtly and utilizing keyboards cleverly, to shade, not to dominate, the record is complete with cavernous voice, constantly falling down deeper into the abyss, reaching for understanding, without grating the senses. The vocals on Loss are just another piece in the texture, not meant to be heard distinctly in front of the mix.

Upon hearing Loss I have both musical and literary recommendations. This album is a must for the fans of Negura Bundet, Fen, Wolves in the Throne Room, Kerbenok and Klabautamann. And if you want to read about the ancient Britain being slowly trampled under the feet of advancing Christianity and monotheism, and do it in the most breathtaking story context, you owe it to yourself to read the Winter King trilogy by Bernard Cornwell.

Killing Songs :
Heofungtid, Those That Crush the Roots of Blood, That Which is Now Forgotten
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Wodensthrone that we have reviewed:
Wodensthrone - Curse reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
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