Watain have long been the topics of controversies, from the musical, through the visual, and to the ideological. Not a lot of bands out there have rose to be one of the most prominent names in the world of Black Metal, as they run over almost any opposition in the way. The Uppsala group have been around since 1998, and Trident Wolf Eclipse would be their 6th full length studio album, and it seems fitting that the first major album of 2018 that drops, would be Watain’s.
During their years, the line that the band drew has been quite clear – some of the most unearthly musical tunes the world has heard, even if that means pushing the boundaries of this (un)Godly world.
It’s a fact that with the band’s previous album, The Wild Hunt, Watain took a bit of a stray from their older musical path and decided to reach out to new musical horizons. Personally, I liked that album for what it was, but a side effect of that direction, was quite a few fans turning their backs on the band, wondering if the mighty band would ever return to their older sounds.
Let’s be clear, if The Wild Hunt was needed for the band to sound like they do on the new album, it’s all been worth it. If the previous mentioned album was a thought and made the band grow musically, for them to create what I’m currently listening to, then it was a necessity.
Opening with the blasting “Nuclear Alchemy”, the album hugs your mind with the familiar sounds everyone missed. It feels like a kick in the face right off the first three seconds, and it’s inducing some ear-bashing moments that does not hold back, which is a line that is being maintained for the whole duration of the album, and even with the subtle melodies and pace changes the mesmerizing “Sacred Damnation” has, everything here has one purpose in mind, and that is to return to what made Watain great in the beginning – Staying as true as they possibly can, to their Devilish roots.
I promise you that while the little riff rollercoaster of the ever-shifting “Teufelsreich” plays, your neck would almost sever itself from moving around according to the spiraling build-up towards the middle of it. By now, it is quite clear that the Swedes are back with a bang, and that bang would make even the hardcore fans who disavowed the band in recent years, spin the new album, while giving it more than one chance.
At first, it seemed like the crystal-clear production would harm the album’s atmosphere, but Trident Wolf Eclipse manages to step aside the assumptions, and delivers edge-cutting riffs and thus manages to maintain an aggression that wasn’t always present with other recent Watain works. Track 4, “Furor Diabolicus” is the very definition of the band, as it simply bombards the listener with a rhythm that wouldn’t leave anyone innocent.
As always with Watain, the different winks to other big names of their niche style is apparent, primarily Dissection, only that band managed to take those moments, and twist them to their own liking, as heard clearly on the blasphemous “Towards The Sanctuary”, 5 minutes of meat bashing riff madness, Chaos-filled chants and a spiraling void the listener falls into whether he wants to or not.
Erik’ vocals, after transforming and developing on the last album, have reached a new peak and it is one that lacks any mercy, moving from his well-known aggressive throat work, to a lower kind of yells that seems to have a good layering effect. The line that’s being taken in this album is one that brings back some of the old Watain sound and any who missed it would greatly appreciate the album from beginning to end.
Let’s be clear, on a personal note, I do not think Trident Wolf Eclipse is the best Watain release ever made, but I do think it represents the band in one of the best ways possible and I think it will reassure the loyalty of old and new, clueless fans alike.
All in all, this is a magnificent album, worthy of the Watain name.
Words by Omer
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: January 5th 2018
1. Nuclear Alchemy
2. Sacred Damnation
4. Furor Diabolicus
5. A Throne Below
6. Ultra (Pandemoniac)
7. Towards The Sanctuary
8. The Fire Of Power