Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

Depending on who you listen to, Watain’s last album, The Wild Hunt, is either an artistic triumph of risk and progression, and the glorious birth of a new era of black metal, or Bon Jovi with blast beats. Splitting opinion like a lump hammer splits watermelons, the album’s occasionally cack-handed forays into doom, prog and even Nothing Else Matters-style country rock balladry had those weary of listening to Transilvanian Hunger for the 470th time calling them messiahs, and those happily listening to Transilvanian Hunger for the 471st time calling them very naughty boys. Now, four and half years later, the offal-soaked Swedes are back with Trident Wolf Eclipse, which has been described by frontman Erik Danielsson as more direct, more to the point and more focused on overall atmosphere, which is a fair description in the same way calling wasps buzzy no-mate picnic-ruining bastards is a fair description. The album announces its evil arrival with a literal sonic boom of noise, Nuclear Alchemy, forcing its bulbous salutations directly into the listener’s ear canals with all the subtlety and comfort of a greased aubergine, and from there on in its clear the band have chosen to ditch their progressive tendencies in an unmarked grave and focus on sheer blackened fury. Put simply, there is no fucking about on Trident Wolf Eclipse, a 35-minute severed middle finger to the face of anyone who said they’re not kvlt enough to do this anymore, marking a blistering return to straight up black metal with a crisp (in the way burnt flesh is crisp) production that gives individual instruments space to manoeuvre rather than crash into each other like particles in a reactor. Ignoring closer Antikrists Mirakel, a laborious seven-minute doom voyage that offers little beyond pure atmosphere, the closest the band comes to the prog tendencies of recent years is probably Towards The Sanctuary, which flits between some of the fastest blasts on the album and a chugging death metal groove that sounds like a possessed Gojira. If The Wild Hunt was an attempt to introduce non-purists to black metal and boost the band’s profile, and a successful one at that, then Trident Wolf Eclipse is the follow-up sucker punch to those newcomers to show them how the big boys do it.

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Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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