Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse (Century Media)

Wednesday, 10th January 2018
Rating: 7/10

Reactions were mixed to Watain’s 2013 The Wild Hunt. Whether because of the album’s variety moods (semi-ballad “They Rode On” is easily the most debated song of the lot) or the lessened froth, it displayed a new, more mature side to the Swedish black metal trio. The band could have gone one of two ways: Further down to The Wild Hunt path, or, back to their rather unforgiving roots, which is exactly where Trident Wolf Eclipse lines up. It certainly operates without much hesitation, that’s for sure.

The cuts here are jammed tight, bound together by blinding speed on those Dissection-loving riffs, something Watain has made a career out of. In fact, as bands like Cloak and Tribulation continue to gain steam, one can see where such ideas come from: Dissection, then Watain. However, there’s a certain sense of all of this being too familiar, like, you can get these songs from Lawless Darkness or Sworn to the Dark. These raw, straight-ahead blasters that come in the form of opener “Nuclear Alchemy,” the bone-rattling “Sacred Damnation” and “The Fire of Power” don’t operate with distinction as they do re-assert Watain’s penchant for unrelenting black metal. The only reprieve out of the bunch comes via the demon-swirl of “Teufelsreich” and closer “Antikrists Mirakel,” the latter enveloped in the sort of noise-shifting, experimental guise that would have floated on The Wild Hunt.

In essence, we’re getting a raw, utterly true, no-frills, no bait-and-switch Watain album, the type of effort the hordes want and essentially, demand. But for the sake of moving the band’s creative needle forward, Trident Wolf Eclipse feels wanting and, a bit safe.

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