Wolves in the Throne Room – politics, Burzum, Jodorowskian Black Metal (?), logo

excerpts from pitchfork interview

On politics:

AW: I said in an interview with a German magazine that I was annoyed that certain ideas I am connected to, such as radical environmentalism and heathen spirituality, have become associated with the culture of the hard-right, especially in Europe. Obviously, WITTR is a group with no political affiliation whatsoever, but some people in the German antifa movement made a big issue out of it, even though I have consistently and forcefully expressed my disdain for the canon of rightwing ideologies ad nauseam.

I understand why black metal is threatening to the simplistic mentality of anarcho-squatters and constipated college boys. These “punks” and “intellectuals” have no space in their worldview for anything beyond the left-wing politics of a 12 year old. It should be noted that WITTR is also vilified by the far right. My feeling is that if you are hated by political people of all persuasions then you are doing something right.

What is our worldview? It is non-political, in that I think that the world is best viewed through the lens of metaphysics. I am concerned with local things and connecting in a deep way to place. I think that human culture needs to evolve past a materialistic and mechanistic worldview. I think that reconnection with wildness and ancientness is a worthwhile path (for me). Is this fascist blood and soil ideology or communistic hippie navel-gazing? I suppose that depends on your perspective. Personally, I think that the old left-right binary is increasingly useless and outmoded. It is better to discuss specific ideas.

That these ideas seem extreme to some people is very curious to me. Sometimes I will peruse reviews of our records. A common thread is that “I like the music, but this anti-modern, mystical stuff is naive and unrealistic– they just don’t understand how the world works.”

This seems quite pathetic and represents a lack of understanding of the role of art in culture. What would you have us do? Have jobs in a bank and create music in our spare time that advocates for a practical and realistic political reform? All of the good ideas that boring people now hold to be self-evident were created by extreme people living on the fringes of society. We, as human beings, radically transform our consciousness, our bodies and the physical world around us with the development of new technologies and new cultural and social forms. The very horizon of imagined possibility is ever-shifting. Art, such as Black Metal, explores the potential futures we could manifest. Certainly I don’t think that the primitivist visions of WITTR form a complete worldview appropriate for every person in every situation. It’s simply a perspective and a possibility that is meaningful to us.

On Burzum:

AW: My feeling is that people are interested in an idealized image of Burzum, which is only tenuously connected to the man. Burzum’s post-Filosofem recorded output reveals a man of limited musical ability, and his mystical-Nazi writing seem paranoid and off-base. It seems like he is just another wingnut spouting off about Jewish conspiracies. People who create powerful and revolutionary art in their teens and early twenties rarely sustain any relevance.

A Jodorowskian Black Metal?:

Two Hunters explores an oceanic and ambiguous space– the terrifying and awesome space of transformation, torch-lit and filled with smoke. This is the place in to which the initiate is led to confront the non-human world. This is the dangerous and chaotic psychological space explored by the shaman.

Timothy Morton on the band name and logo from Helvete: A Journal of Black Metal Theory, Issue 1


“The presence of wolves and the uncertainty about the time are part of one and the same syndrome: the eruption of a basic, searing anxiety…

Like a tangled thicket of thorns, the calligraphy of the band’s logo cuts us, almost illegible, beautiful yet strange. The symmetry of the logo defeats the compulsion to read from left to right, “to make it mean something.” The matted fibers of the Two Hunters sleeve evoke unseen things, unseeable things. Writing is twisting itself into the fibers and filaments of trees: cryptic, encrypted—but not divorced from Nature, only an outgrowth of the same process.

…If we want to go any deeper in our social and philosophical journey, we must descend into the smoking pool of death. Wolves in the Throne room provide a kind of musical antihistamine that enables humans to not have an allergic reaction to working at the depth necessary for retracing our broken coexistence with all beings.”


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