Published on February 12th, 2018 | by Mackinlay McBride0
Wolves In The Throne Room: St. Luke’s, Glasgow – live review
Wolves In The Throne Room
St. Luke’s, Glasgow
Up tonight at St. Luke’s and the Winged Ox is atmospheric black metal stalwarts Wolves in the Throne Room. Preceding them however is the solitary support act, the instrumental Aluk Todolo, who offer an engaging and intense mix of psychedelic rock, noise rock and black metal to create what they have dubbed ‘occult rock’. One would expect that a lack of vocals might detract from this music, although this is simply not the case here as the music itself does enough to keep things interesting for the duration, particularly thanks to some commanding drumming and keyboard theatrics, all while a lightbulb pierces through the darkness and flickers to the rhythm of the music they create. While it seems that such a diverse style of music can be divisive, and musically they differ quite a lot from the night’s main attraction, Aluk Todolo did more than enough to hold their own and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on them in future.
It seemed that the night had ran into some trouble with the sounding of the fire alarm towards the end of Aluk Todolo’s set and the venue having to be evacuated. Luckily this was nothing major and we were able to return for Wolves in the Throne Room 45 minutes later. While it caused a slight delay, this mishap at least added some humour to the night due to St. Luke’s being a converted church; it seems that black metal and churches still don’t mix…
…Well, that would be the case at least, if it wasn’t for that fact that the sound at St. Luke’s might just have the best I’ve ever heard at a venue. Each instrument could be heard with perfect clarity, while Nathan Weaver’s vocals tore through them all as opposed to being drowned out, as so often is the case at many an extreme metal gig. The tightness of the band played a big part in this too, and the band never put a foot wrong. “Thrice Woven” was among 2017’s greatest albums, and in a live setting these songs sound even better, as the atmosphere produced from such tight musicianship and some incredible acoustics filled the room and washed over the crowd, like a calming yet at times crushing cascade.
Wolves’ setlist was a strong one, with the newer cuts fitting in perfectly amongst the old classics. However, they saved the best till last in what is possibly their most well known work, the vast epic “I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots”, the closer to their seminal “Two Hunters” album. Beautiful, majestic, spine-tingling, chilling; there are so many adjectives one could use to describe the experience, and it totally encompasses what makes them such an incredible band. Somewhat less gushingly however, it was a fitting end to a night with so many highs and absolutely no lows (…musically speaking that is).
The only downside to the performance was that their debut album, the seminal “Diadem of 12 Stars”, was not represented. However, the fact that what many see to be their magnum opus, “Two Hunters”, was represented by three of its four tracks more than made up for this. Aluk Todolo set the stage nicely with their peculiar brand of occult rock, while Wolves in the Throne Room seem to be a band on the form of their life. It looks likely that tonight will be the last gig I attend this year, and if that’s the case then 2017 couldn’t have been capped more perfectly. There’s a reason Wolves in the Throne Room are held in such high regard, and they can’t come back soon enough.
Photographs by Lewis Allen