Genre: Black Metal
Label: Century Media Records
A five year gap between a Watain album is the longest we have seen in their carreer so far and it is reasonable, considered that “The Wild Hunt” was a record hard to digest for fans and non-fans alike. It was very long, it experienced ideas previously unvisited by the band, it raised controversy about some of its musical moments (no point in mentioning the same stuff again) and it polarized the scene even more than what Watain had achieved in 2010 with “Lawless Darkness” and the fame that followed.
It was only logical to wonder what the next steps of the band might be, mainly because of their previous two releases, even though in the big picture, they are very stable aesthetically and spiritually. “Trident Wolf Eclipse” depicts the purest characteristics of the band, combined with a turn towards a more violent and attacking side and again, marvelous lyric work as well. You won’t find clean vocals, or mellow atmospheric lines, or anything like that. Watain experimented less with their new album, they avoided breaking new ground, instead all this new material is their own, vile sound at a high level.
I personally think “Trident Wolf Eclipse” is one of the most straightforward moments of the band, as it hits hard and doesn’t ever slow down. It’s full of the band’s familiar, thunderous riffs, scourging vocals and heavy production, as if they have left behind the big project that was “The Wild Hunt”. At first listen, it’s a less challenging record and it features the core of Watain’s sound, always giving short glances back to 80’s tectonic thrash, as well as classic black metal. As far as the cover art goes, it’s one of the least favorable in my opinion, and had me worried when I first saw it, still the music paid back very well.
One can hear elements of Watain existing prior 2010 fully, in every track. The band has created something that should appeal to their fans, the metal scene outside their fanbase and it’s a good checkpoint for what they are all about. It’s undeniably catchy and might attract non black metallers, but it worships their earlier sound as well, for the long time followers. The record opens with -made in video clip and used as a single for its promotion- “Nuclear Alchemy”, which literally explodes into speedy lines and professional, fine musicianship. Then, most of the album is forged at the same shape, with top-notch tracks only. Of course, following Watain’s lyrics is half the glory and you shouldn’t neglect them.
Only the bonus track “Antikrists Mirakel”, which is also seven minutes long, moves in a slow paced, heavy pace, with echoing, narrating vocals in the background. The rest of the album is furious, reminding of classic melodies from “Sworn to the Dark” and back. “A Throne Below” maybe is my favorite from here, because of the bleakness is provokes, even though it doesn’t have the memorable riffs existing in tracks like “Sacred Damnation” or “Furor Diabolicus”. I strongly believe this record was meant to be a success, but surely it is a deserving one.
For many, this might be the point where Watain return to their solid selves, presenting their own style with close to perfectly composed material. I don’t consider any of their albums disappointing, but surely I prefer the aggressiveness of “Trident Wolf Eclipse”, the unrelenting power of the tracks and the non-stop bombardment of acute riffing. As one of the most famous bands of its time, if not the most famous or the most achieved, I would say they live up to their names. Fire and brimstone.