Trident Wolf Eclipse
Let’s be honest, if your idea of Black Metal aligns with bands like Bathory, Satyricon, and Mayhem, then there isn’t a whole lot of “pure blood” left out there. Thankfully, Watain is still around to scratch that itch (as is 1349 and Khold), bleeding their own brand of rawness onto the masses since 1998. Notorious for their blood-soaked, ritualized live performances, the band returns with their first studio album since 2013’s The Wild Hunt.
While I really enjoyed The Wild Hunt, Trident Wolf Eclipse is a whole other level of raw power. “Nuclear Alchemy” kicks off the album with a fury that you don’t hear much these days. The band lays waste to all naysayers from the very beginning, offering brief periods of Black and Roll for you to catch your breath before the next explosive round. “Furor Diabolicus” is another excellent moment here with a raw chorus enhanced by some tight playing. The layered vocals help give it a more demented sound as well, reminding me a good bit of what I loved so much about the early Khold albums.
“Antikrists Mirakel” is a dark and brooding example of Watain’s brilliance. It’s buzzsaw guitars doom stomp their way through the end of the album while muffled narration twists together with veiled Black Metal noise and painful screams lay just under the surface. It warps itself up with acoustic guitars, distortion, and ringing church bells. Call it “classic” or “traditional” if you want, but realistically it’s the sonic atmosphere that it makes it feel so important. It’s cold and dark and charged, causing you to leave the album feeling abandoned and hopeless.
Overall, Watain is still one of the very best their genre has to offer. This isn’t for everybody and if your Black Metal preference revolves around Dimmu Borgir and last decade Cradle of Filth (which are both excellent in their own right), then this might not be your thing. If you like your catalog a little darker (think Khold, Old Man’s Child, 1349, and early Gorgoroth) then you probably already dig Watain. If not, be sure to start here.
Reviewed by mark1340