Watain - ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ (Century Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Friday, 12 January 2018 04:40

Watain TWE 2018 CoverWhen the ‘The Wild Hunt’ dropped in 2013, it’s safe to say that the metal community at large was unprepared for the rapturous goodwill the record received. While Watain had been a known quantity since before the turn of the millennium, the attention garnered by said release was considerably beyond what a band of their ilk could hope to enjoy. The inclusion of traditional and progressive elements to their relatively standard black metal sound proved to be a winning formula. The succeeding five years saw the band land some significant slots during festival circuits, as well as courting some controversy along the way, the most publicized involving animal blood and vomit. After a relatively quiet spell, the Swedish trio has offered up their much anticipated follow-up, ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse.’


As the record opens with the savage ‘Nuclear Alchemy’, it becomes quickly apparent that Watain are going for a more back to basics approach with this record. A lean three-minute blast of frosty cacophony, the track is the definition of economical extreme metal songwriting; in and out, with a notable groove to the mid-section and a particularly bile-spitting delivery from Erik Danielsson. It’s an assaulting and unexpected start to the album, setting the standard for what’s to come.


To say that ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ is a less ambitious effort from the band would be a disservice to the undeniable quality of the musicianship on these nine songs. ‘Sacred Damnation’ features superb use of dynamics created by the movement from dizzying tremolo riffs to more spacious guitar hooks, most pertinent in the disorientating, nightmarish interlude before the thunderous whiplash of the track’s coda. The equally excellent ‘Furor Diabolicus’ boasts a complimentary retro sounding production, nicely counteracting the aural chaos dominated by drummer Hȧkan Jonsson’s rhythmic navigation.



In returning to a more streamlined black metal style, Watain, perhaps inadvertently, reveal more of their own influences this time around. ‘Teufelsreich’ has shades of early Satyricon, while ‘A Throne Below’ seems to channel their predecessors, Bathory, showcasing their craft at incorporating faint beauty in guitar melodies, competing with the potentially overwhelming monstrousness of the sum of the other components. They even veer into more comparatively accessible territory on a couple of songs. The blitzkrieg of ‘Ultra (Pandemonium)’ sounds like ‘Kill ‘Em All’ era Metallica discovered crystal meth instead of hitting the bottle, while ‘Fire Of Power’ has a vocal hook relatable to even the most traditional heavy metal fan.


The closing track, ‘Antikrists Mirakel’, is the only example on ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ of the band running with the more experimental elements that were so prevalent on ‘The Wild Hunt.’ Heavily reverberated vocals submit to the avant garde wash of instrumental noise, before the seven minutes are brought to a close with picked acoustic guitar. It’s the most distinctive sounding part of the whole record, and the first moment where one may be inclined to consider that Watain may have taken a backward step with ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse.’


The progressive exploration found on ‘The Wild Hunt’ was so unexpected and so masterfully executed, that the promise of further experimentation made the next album all the more tantalizing. Therefore, as a complete body of work, ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ pales slightly in comparison. However, what they have delivered is a succinct collection of finely crafted extreme metal, with each individual song a victory in its own right.


‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


Watain’s show at The Dome, Tufnell Park, tonight (Friday 12 January) is sold out.

Watain headline the Sophie Lancaster Stage at Bloodstock on Sunday 12 August.




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