Watain
Trident Wolf Eclipse

I will attempt to do Watain’s ardent supporters proud by this review. Understand that I am new to the Watain camp, so forgive me if you disagree with me. Deepsend Records owner and friend, Graham Landers, recommended this new Watain to me and I was hooked. He guided me through their discography and within a 1 week period I ordered Watain’s entire catalog as well as 2, count ‘em 2, Watain longsleeve shirts. So you can say I am on the Watain bandwagon. I do not claim to be an expert on black metal, either-my wheelhouse is all things death metal. I am more of an older school black metal person. I grew up on Bathory, early Sodom and I worship all things Darkthrone. But I do have certain smatterings of black metal bands among my vast collection and I do love blackened death metal and blackened thrash metal a lot.

In my brief time listening to their discography, non-stop, I can say fans let down by The Wild Hunt, from 2013, will have their hopes lifted by this new Watain album. Although I am new to Watain, I actually do appreciate and love The Wild Hunt, which happens to be a very polarizing Watain album, due to the added melody, clean vocal patterns and a let-up on the gas pedal, if you will. When listening to their back catalog, up until now The Wild Hunt was actually a natural progression for the band. Watain had already experimented with more melody and slower arrangements, on the previous album, Lawless Darkness. The fans clamoring for the ruthless and ultra-brutal black metal return of the first 2 albums, Rabid Death’s Curse or Casus Luciferi, will be let down. Trident Wolf Eclipse is a bit of a mix of their finest album, Sworn to the Dark and Lawless Darkness, if you will.

One of the most impressive things I find throughout all of Watain’s discography, including this newest release, is how incredibly dense and strong their rhythm section happens to be. Black Metal is not always recognized for a heavy driving rhythm section where you can hear the bass heaviness, but Watain excels at this, and this is one of the reasons I really think they kick ass-they’re a heavy black metal band. Throughout their albums I notice strong Darkthrone influences and some early death metal influence-more in the Celtic Frost vein. Home run, especially with Frost. With that being said, maybe I should digress a little, with some of what I said earlier, but album opener “Nuclear Alchemy” does harken a little back to some of their earlier efforts with a beginning blast beat not heard played this fast in over 10 years. They return to this moment a little while later in the tune. There are also some more death metal leanings on certain fast passages and guitar melodies. Not enough to call them a blackened death metal band, though. “Sacred Damnation” is up next and Watain are really trying to drive home to the fans who said The Wild Hunt is best served as cat litter, as this track pulverizes, but has some melody with some acoustic, and fantastic guitar riffs, courtesy of P. E’s vocals are scathing, brutal and quite evil and his bass guitar thumps along on this track very strongly. H’s drum work on this track is lethal and he mixes some great parts and the floor toms and double bass from the 3.55 mark on, are deep, resonating and will strip your flesh from your soulless body. “A Throne Below” sounds like something Darkthrone would write, now, if they stayed pure black metal and we were still in the Transylvanian Hunger songwriting era. The guitar melodies at the 55 second part are demonic and downright haunting. The rhythm section at the 1.26 old school fast part is a thing of beauty. Just press rewind. This is one of the best songs Watain has written.

“Towards the Sanctuary” has a nice memorable feel to it and there are some leanings toward The Wild Hunt era, before the faster section picks up at the 1 minute passage. Some ass-kicking double bass to collapse chest cavities is also right around the corner. This version is the limited edition digipak version containing the bonus song: “Antikrists Mirakel” and this is the longest song at over 7 minutes. Best way to describe this is a black metal doom song. Slow, depressive, vocals-yes some cleans are used, but in more of a spoken word vein. Very haunting track, with some spectacular arrangements and an epic and excellent ending. By and large, Watain streamlined their song writing quite a bit on Trident Wolf Eclipse, as most of the songs are in the 4 minutes and some change category. A lot still going on with the time changes and again if you were left with a foul taste from The Wild Hunt, Trident Wolf Eclipse will erase that from your mouth. They have returned to more of their evil, demonic black metal ways.

The packaging is excellent with a thick digipak, which unfolds to a cross. Lyrics are included and the booklet is nicely done. The font Watain uses on the back of the digipak and in the lyrics are cool, but I can’t make out what the hell they say. Shit, I don’t wanna put on my goddamned readers to read black metal-make that shit legible for us older dudes, Watain, c’mon. Help a brother out! The album cover goes perfectly with the album name and the wolf mountains are super clever and creative. The production and mix is great. Heavy and pounding and those wonderful black metal melodies come searing through your speakers faster than I can say: “Timmy Tommy Two Times Turned a Turnbuckle into a Troublesome Toad”. Try that as a drinking game, saying that 10x. Watain have written and released one of their strongest albums and Trident Wolf Eclipse is a crushing way to start 2018. Buy or Die!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
February 12th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this is a pretty solid record. I like it a lot. It’s just…the new Tribulation came out a couple weeks later and is better in almost every respect.


  2. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I’d say early Dissection are the biggest Watain influence – you can really hear it in the melodies.


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