Wooden Throne - Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away
Purity Through Fire
Atmospheric Black Metal
7 songs (32'27")
Release year: 2021
Reviewed by Alex

From the mind of one prolific Finn Mikko Lehto (mastermind of October Falls) comes a new entity Wooden Throne. Not sure if Wooden Throne is solely a one-man band and Mikko does everything on the debut Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away, or, just like on October Falls he gets help from some fellow Finns. That is obviously not the matter, as more surprising is Mikko’s artistic need to express himself in ways different than he already does on October Falls mixing up atmospheric black metal and acoustic neofolk. I am on record on these pages not quite embracing October Falls latest Syys, for its soft sounding, gentle autumn wind monotony, so I naturally was a little ginger with Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away to begin with. A few listens through the album, I can see how Wooden Throne is different than October Falls and why a new entity was necessary, not to add the third rail to October Falls. The latter alternates some very earthy atmospheric blackened metal and the aforementioned neofolk which has nothing to do with metal at all. Wooden Throne, although monikered after something also rather grounded, is an exercise in matters significantly more astral. Whereas October Falls takes you on a walk in the woods, Wooden Throne plans to take you flying in the nightly sky.

From the beginning of At the Sorrows Chamber, and pretty much throughout its 7 track duration Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away engages with a dense wall-of-sound approach, fuzzed out riffs, bits of pronounced melancholic melody, all of that on repeat throughout the album’s compositions. There is not a single blastbeat here, so the feeling of the cosmic expanse is achieved via shrouding guitars, booming bass drums, less pronounced snares and floating synthesizers. You wouldn’t be able to discern where guitars end and electronics begin, but some melodic moments do stand out as points of emphasis. Mikko’s voice is another layer into the mix here, the total sum of parts being very organic. Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away reminded me of denser Thy Serpent or less lonely, less tragic Grift, although the beginning of The Ravens Cross is slower and stretchy, just like Grift. Withered at Sunrise also begins with tranquil dejected piano, contrasting with the burst that follows, but the feeling of At the Sorrows Chamber is actually more triumphant and uplifting, while the title track and Return into Shadows are stately and soaring. This is atmospheric metal you can drift to, but actually not feel depressed while doing so, and almost enjoy the moment, whether you are driving through the sunny day or moonlit night. Instrumental Into Forests Calm is pretty much keyboards only, and Through the Timeless Fields is also quite serene.

It will be interesting to see if Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away was the only load Wooden Throne had in it, as the compositions do tend to resemble one another, and more than several run-throughs the album will expose its repetitions. That is probably the only criticism I can legitimately have here, as the music does sweep you off your feet. Avoiding its own iterative nature may come as a challenge for the project, but in one 32 min long fleeting moment Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away made a believer out of me.

Killing Songs :
At the Sorrows Chamber, Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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