Saturday, January 20, 2018

WATAIN - Trident Wolf Eclipse review

WATAIN - Trident Wolf Eclipse

Century Media Records

OK bias alert, yes I'm a fan of WATAIN, have been for a while. Although a few months ago when I heard this was coming out in January I really wasn't excited unlike many in the mainstream metal media. Then again the label paid them to be excited. Yeah well just to overview their career; I thought their early releases were brutally cruel and cold black metal. Probably some of the best as far as the genre had at the time. Then came Sworn to the Dark which put them into the top tier. An absolutely great album. I saw the band on that tour. They had the club smelling like an abattoir but hey it was a great performance. Strangely enough it was not a well attended show. I credit that to 1) it was a weeknight show so plenty of die-hards stayed home. 2) Ticket price was steep. And 3) the local hiptard crowd wasn't into black metal yet.

Moving on I thought 2010's Lawless Darkness was a bone tossed out to the mainstream types who jumped on the black metal bandwagon and 2013’s The Wild Hunt was an experiment gone wrong. Now I'm not one of the many voices in the BM underground who screamed "sellout" after their last two releases. I just lost interest. So here we have Trident Wolf Eclipse and after listening to it on and off for a week I'll say it is a step back from their last two full lengths. Hell it's even a step back from Sworn to the Dark. 

I'm thinking the boys in WATAIN sat down and had a discussion as in "Hey we're a Swedish black metal band in the vein of DISSECTION and MARDUK. Why the fuck are we putting out crap just to appease a bunch of losers. Let's do a fuckin black metal album." So yeah Trident Wolf Eclipse is the band going back a ways from their most recent material but this ain't Casus Luciferi. Still it's a good release and it seems WATAIN are not out to please music snob critics. Instead they're just trying to make their brand of black metal great again.

The release starts off well with the blistering “Nuclear Alchemy” as a tone setting welcome back to the fray. What follows are a few bombastic blackened cuts that carry a cool and almost symphonic style melody. For most of this I listen to it and think it's Lawless Darkness toned down a lot. "Sacred Damnation" being mediocre while "Teufelsreich" brings back memories of DISSECTION worship. Then there's songs like “Furor Diabolicus”, "A Throne Below" and “Ultra (Pandemoniac)” which to me is the best part of the release. The band cuts loose with fury via riffs and tempo changes to remind you why they became a standout black metal act in the first place.

As for the rest of the album it's standard WATAIN fair which we're use to by now. I think Erik Danielsson's vocals on here come across as vengeful in the way he delivers em. It's as if he has a point to prove. In the end I gotta say Trident Wolf Eclipse is a decent release for WATAIN. It's a stripped down version of what they've been pushing for the past couple of years. For those of you out there who are sworn to the dark but thought WATAIN stood in the limelight for too long. Here ya go, try it you'll like it.

Also if they come by don't forget to check em out with DESTROYER 666.

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