REVIEW: WATAIN – “Trident Wolf Eclipse”
This album lurks in the dark, behind a forest tree to attack in a moment of unthoughtfulness, only to hack its teeth into our throat and watch you slowly bleed to death. Of course the wolf is once again Watain‘s heraldic animal and plays an almost physical role in this 6th studio massacre that will be released on January 5th through Century Media. But this time, Watain use their wild spirit animal in a more metaphorical way and more than ever before, forged their black metal into a stalking predator, ready to attack at any time.
After suffering from a burnout during his South America tour in 2010, mastermind Erik Danielsson needed lots of time and mental training to regain his strength. And while allowing some experiments on their previous full length release ‘The Wild Hunt’, it seems that Watain now stripped down their sound to a straight forward invasion showing that Erik has only grown stronger and allows no compromises. Therefore all eight songs are fast, thrashing and tearing the skin right off your face.
While many black metal albums suffer from mediocre mixes or productions, the new release ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ takes a lot of his diabolical energy from the mix, where the volume and dynamics suddenly change so rapidly, that it feels as if being carried away in a giant maelstrom of fire. “Nuclear Alchemy” and “Ultra (Pandemoniac)“ are just one of the many examples, where a guitar solo kicks in so quickly or Erik unleashes one of his gnarling screams that it almost seems like a conflagration blowing straight into your face.
“Teufelsreich” reduces the speed a tad but still offers machine gun drum blasts and doesn’t even think of sounding less aggressive. This is where the big difference to the previous full-length release starts to show: While 2013’s ‘The Wild Hunt‘ offered a great span of diversity and with “They Rode On“ even a track you might call a ballad (!), ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ is pure aggression labeled through guitars and constantly stays on the same level of thrashing brutality. “A Throne Below” comes up with haunting guitar leads, but don’t expect any acoustic interludes on this song.
In a way, this a little sad, as seeing the Swedes break the rules of black metal was truly a sonic adventure, but with ‘only’ eight tracks and about 35 minutes of running time, Watain’s youngest hellchild follows the ‘all killers, no fillers’ concept and the band seems to have erased every weakness. This obviously offers less diversity and the eight songs sound rather similar to one another, but constantly stay on a very strong level of quality, evoking wild energies that only these hell-hounds from Uppsala are able to tame.
If a band is able to capture the thunderous firestorm of the underworld in songs, then it’s definitely Watain, who once again follow their own path and stay true to their own vision.