Monday, April 6: Calendar Pimp Suggests

Party's at your house tonight.
Party's at your house tonight.

According to folklore, you can only see the faerie realm while occupying a transitional state, such as during twilight or while standing with one foot on the shore and the other in the stream. Or perhaps on a day such as this, when it snows on opening day. Listening to Wolves in the Throne Room works quite nicely as well. Cascadia, Washington's black metal-cum-eco-praise-druids create the perfect soundtrack for these early spring nighttimes, when the weather is neither wholly winter nor spring.

WITTR released their third album, Black Cascade, a week ago tomorrow to help shepherd us into the new earth. There are many things you could do in the "real" world this evening, but gathering a few friends and a few bottles and sitting under the trees while enjoying Black Cascade comes highly recommended.

Wolves in the Throne Room in the dark.
Wolves in the Throne Room in the dark.
Black Cascade is as much Rhys Chatham as black metal, as much Anton Bruckner as rock & roll. The negativity, the Satanism, the grand guignol imagery of traditional black metal are absent here, replaced by a shamanic belief in the sanctity of the natural world. The music is still a hailstorm of frosty guitar blur and drum-kits-down-a-stairwell backbeats, but there's a hypnagogic edge to it all. This is epic psychedelic music: It's psychedepic, in that it seeks to push you as far as it can to the edges of this consciousness and over the hedge into that other realm.

"Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" and its great bristling clouds of spiky chords open the album with a howl. Nathan Weaver's drums are the sea, shouldering their way across the face of the earth in persistent crashes that swell and fall according to the moon. Brother Aaron Weaver's hissing vocals, delivered in an obliterated tongue, provide the fog, as does his opaque dronestorm guitar.

The last minutes of "Ahrimanic Trance" keep unfolding. A steady-pulsing bass drone gives way to scrying voices in the dark gives way to slapping echoes of distant footsteps gives way to the shivering creaks of an ancient guitar gives way to crickets and nightbirds, which then turns to thirty seconds of running water. We're here, deep in that other realm. There's no looking back anymore.

"Crystal Ammunition," in its dying moments, is the sound of winter letting go. Cyclopean blocks of iced distortion splinter, then open to reveal a hazy vista that looms almost out of reach. A bell tolls somewhere out there, heralding a new day. All the witches have gone to ground, Bald Mountain stands inviolate above the tree line and the pale line of the horizon climbs upward inexorably, hiding the stars behind the hem of the sun.

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