Like most introverts and introverted bands, Wolves in the Throne Room relished the extra time during COVID to create and record their latest record, Primordial Arcana, out August 20 via Relapse Records.  

“I kind of hesitate to talk about COVID because it’s been a rough time for a lot of people, but we’ve been relishing the opportunity to have more time out home, to kind of slow down the pace of life,” says drummer, bassist, and synth player Aaron Weaver. 

“We’ve gotten to spend more time with our families, spend more time in the forest, and focus on making music videos and the rollout for the album. We’ve managed to find a lot of time to do things that are productive and nourishing because we got done with our last tour right before COVID began. On the plane ride home, I got really fucking sick and drenched in sweat, so I may have had COVID right at the beginning. But it was at least good timing because we had finished the album cycle, and we’re getting ready to go deep into the studio and turn our focus inwards.” 

Through this inward focus, the band were able to connect more with contributions from all members and really craft something that was equal parts input.  

“This was the first record where Kody Keyworth [guitar, vocals] has been with us every step of the way,” Weaver explains. “From the very first, conceptual sketches for the record all the way through to the bitter end mastering the final, persnickety details. So, I think that Primordial Arcana really crackles with a lot of energy and excitement and vitality, and I think I owe that in many respects to Kody’s influence and energetic input.

“This feels like the beginning of a new era. Thrice Woven was kind of the end of a cycle musically for us. It’s as if we’ve tapped into a new spring of energy deep underground. This is also the first record we’ve produced ourselves entirely in our own studio in Olympia. It was a big challenge and a journey to accomplish it, but I think we definitely succeeded, and I’m incredibly proud of how the record sounds.”  

Speaking of how this theme of unity showed up in the shared lyrical process, the song “Spirit of Lightning” comes to mind for Weaver, and specifically, the experience of playing a show like Fire in the Mountains the summer before last. For those who weren’t there, the event happens in rural Wyoming and is a celebration of all things metal, nature, and communal praise for the heathen gods, all things Wolves in the Throne Room love. Blessedly, the event returns in 2022.  

“It was just this great celebration of people gathered together in brotherhood and sisterhood and just a fucking celebration,” he explains.  “To me, that is the spirit of heavy metal, and that’s the thing I really resonate with and want to bring forth in our music.”  

And that spirit will return again, as the band are already embarking on a European tour and planning U.S. tour dates as soon as that wraps up. They are traversing Europe October through November with Stygian Bow and Blood Incantation. And in anticipation of future shows and future outpourings of musical emotion, they’re also getting ready for the next album.  

“We’re always thinking ahead, and we just have a lot of material from the last writing sessions,” Weaver says. “There’s some really great stuff and great songs that just didn’t fit on the record. So, whether that’s an EP, or another LP sooner rather than later, we’re working in the studio, and we’ll definitely get back to it after we hit the road for a while and do the live performance, live ritual thing. We definitely feel the call to get back to our studio and create the next piece.”  

When it comes to their values, their love of nature, and their desire to breathe positivity into the sometimes-toxic black metal scene, Weaver’s response is from the pagan perspective and looks at the unity of earth and all things.  

“There is a certain code of ethics that is in my heart and comes from the deepest place within myself, and I think there’s a resonance and a wisdom that rises up from the Earth and from the spirits,” he says. “One of those values is justice, and I call out for justice. May it flow forth into the world. We don’t like to get into the particular politics of the day, those things come and go. But it’s our place to channel the spirit of justice, for the Earth and all beings.

“We’re pagan, and that is the root of our spiritual lives, to go into the forest and cultivate relationships with certain rivers, certain trees, certain mountains. I’ve found that over my life, those relationships have grown deeper and more revealed. So, connect to the spirit of the Earth, the spirit of living things, and listen carefully. Listen to your dreams. Listen with your heart and with your roots, not necessarily with your thinking mind. We strive to live our life in a way that is in resonance with that, and with what the Earth needs right now to continue to thrive.”  

Watch the video for “Primal Chasm” here:

For more from Wolves In The Throne Room, find them at their official website.

Photo courtesy of Wolves In The Throne Room.

Author

Addison is reviews and online news editor for New Noise. She specializes in metal, queer issues, and dog cuddles.

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