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OK, so the year’s off to a weak start. The upcoming Grey Daturas disc on Neurot, Return to Disruption, is pretty hot—as in, I-just-scalded-my-face hot—and trumpeter Cuong Vu’s self-released Vu-tet disc should appeal to anyone who forked out for MilesThe Complete On the Corner Sessions box set.

But that’s about it. The best thing I’ve heard in 2008 is a record I missed in 2007: Wolves in the Throne Room’s excellent Two Hunters.

As Erik Davis reported out in Slate, this Pacific NW black metal band has something of a D.C. connection. But don’t check ‘em out for that reason, or for the environmental stuff (that kind of conservativism has been present in black metal almost as long as there’s been black metal).

Check ‘em out because they made the most dynamic, melodic, and just straight-up serious black metal record of the past year. And sorry to all of my colleagues who fell in love with Watain’s Sworn to the Dark.

That record is a frightening blast or bad ‘tude, for sure, but, as with so much black metal, the nastiness wears thin after a few songs. It just can’t touch Two Hunters, which has me squeezing invisible oranges from start to finish.