I am a little late to the party on this release, but when bands release live recordings, it always appears to be a masturbatory experience, typically rife with bad decisions on a sound guy’s off night or poorly mastered tracks to sound ‘authentic,’ but when Wolves in the Throne Room recorded a BBC session directly after the sessions for the album Celestial Lineage, the result was nothing less than inspired.
Known for their long sprawling pieces of music that cannot be confined to one song, or even one side of a record for that matter, WITTRs expansive style spawned many a zygotic version of what they accomplish on an album, but no band ever really stood up live. Without gushing too much, Anno Domini is only as good as its source material, and their last full length was one of the best albums of 2011.
What could almost be deemed an EP for WITTR coming in just over twenty minutes – compared to their Live at Roadburn disc – the BBC sessions sounds like what you have come to expect from the Maida Vale studios: perfection. What has been a heavy handed mix in the past, feels gentle as they scribe from one facet of “Prayer for Transformation” to the next, and “Thuja Magus Imperium” nearly destroys the album version by releasing the variances so important to black metal – the subtle differences in picking when returning to a line of consciousness – that could get mastered out of an album left in as a raw performance.
This short and sweet session is a must have to add to your collection of vinyl; the mp3s do it justice, but as with every release from WITTR you never get exactly where the beauty lies until the wax is turning at 33 1/3.