Krallice kicked things off with an older song ("Dimensional Bleedthrough" I think) which was surprisingly good. I've seen the band 3 (or 4? I can't recall) times now and they've done an excellent job in sounding tighter and more energetic since I caught them two years ago with A Storm of Light and Wolves in the Throne Room. Unfortunately, the rest of the set suffered as their newer songs showcase more attention to vocals (deeper, less interesting ones), heavier and more technical riffs and structures that really detract from the hypnotic melodies that were so absorbing from their s/t. They got a good response from the crowd and I heard mixed things while waiting at the bar.
Thou, as I expected, dominated the show, putting Krallice in their place as openers, and distracting me from the headliner as they couldn't be lived up to. Beyond the cohesion between the band, their spot on execution and excellent sound, their set-list was worth it alone. Starting with my favorite song "They Stretch out Their hands," and eventually "Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories," "Here I Stand Head In Hand" (possibly my third favorite of theirs) and ending with a very honest and energetic cover of Black Sabbath's "Into the Void." While the stage was too big for them (they're the kind of band that thrives in small settings) they lived up to my expectations and easily stole the show.
Thou - Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories from (((unartig))) on Vimeo.
Wolves in the Throne Room are a far cry from the band I obsessed over with their first release. Whether it's the relative stardom they've accomplished, or maybe my own shifts in taste, the band bored me this time around. I fondly recall them playing Brooklyn nearly 4 years ago (right around the release of Two Hunters) and thought they were one of the best acts I had ever seen. That show was such a clash compared to this one as they practically played in the crowd and let their music speak for itself that time. However, in recent years, the band's employed incense, smoke, banners, candles, and other gimmicks that feed into this "natural aesthetic" that just seems a bit silly in such a big venue like The Bell House. Rumored to be a possible fairwell tour, I'm happy I was able to catch them, but I'm happier to think of a time when they were a small outfit with only two releases and no gimmicks.
Wolves in the Throne Room | NYC @ The Bell House | 12 Sep 2011 from (((unartig))) on Vimeo.
Thou and WITTR continued on two days later to Death By Audio (this time with support by the excellent Mutilation Rites). Unfortunately I missed the show, but I assume Thou really shined in the small death trap that is Death By Audio.