Diadem of 12 Stars is nothing shy of a masterpiece, easily the greatest black metal album of the 21st century, if not of all time.
Singlehandedly, the debut album from Washington’s despondent power trio Wolves in the Throne Room raised the black metal bar, giving the subgenre an intellectual appeal and progressive intelligence that even those outside the heavy metal subculture could identify. Instead of being a lo-fi take on thrash and death metal hailing from the snowy wastes of Norway that perpetuated nothing but anger and hatred, Diadem of 12 Stars took black metal mainstays like frenetic riffing, quick drumming and faded, wailing vocals and expanded upon them in ways never before thought possible.
Wolves in the Throne Room took black metal’s intrinsic individual parts and knitted them together with darkly ambient interludes, progressive song lengths and Agalloch-like folk, resulting in a debut that many now call the cornerstone of “post-black metal”, a style that would be cemented with the breakthroughs of Alcest, Altar of Plagues and Deafheaven soon after.
And thanks to new names like Ghost Bath and Zeal & Ardor alongside a still-escalating Wolves in the Throne Room, black metal is continually stepping forward into a new, more experimental era. And it all started with Diadem of 12 Stars.