Saturday, 17 March 2018

Watain "Trident Wolf Eclipse" (2018)

My opinion of this band will be forever tainted by their live performance. Severed pigs heads impaled on the stage and the stench of animals blood filling your nostrils was one thing but the moment singer Danielsson decided to put out a burning stick with his hand grasping a fist around the flames just took the biscuit. He huddled wounded on the stage, nursing his hand which has dripping with blood, clearly in a lot of pain. It was all rather pathetic and although I like evil and satanism in the form of art or entertainment, it often becomes utterly ridiculous when in practice. The so called "ritualistic" performance came across as a joke and they were the punchline.

Either way I'm here for the music and Swedish Black Metal outfit Watain have risen to prominence with their fifth album, The Wild Hunt, released five years ago. I have never been massively into them but you can't ignore that they have become one of the genres biggest names in recent years, a time where experimentation and diversification has seemed ripe. Watain have gotten here by sticking to a very traditional approach on the genre, one which makes their music obvious, atypical and unsurprising yet its execution and production value gives it a weight of value in pursuit of dark and evil sounds that have been thoroughly explored before they arrived.

If you're hoping for new Black Metal records like the classics De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas & Pure Holocaust etc... then there is probably a lot to like about this record. Its sharp, fast and vicious, loading in and endless stream of creepy, evil melodies between furious bursts of jagged tremolo picking and punishing blast beats. Its got enough measure to illuminate its own atmosphere with demonic ambiguous vocal passageways, the booming of deep tribal drums and cymbals striking like a gong give it that extra spark of mischief. Plenty of breaks disperse the intense atmosphere with plucked chords breaking up the linear power chord riffs that drive most the record.

All in all its all just a little to expectant for my ears. Despite a terrific production and well written songs, the album could do little to surprise or feel fresh and different from what Ive heard of the genre before. Their success is possibly paramount to appealing to the old guard who resist change within the sound but for me that is boring and so this record sounds as good as my appetite for Black Metal on the given day that I'm listening to it. That being said the closing track Antikrists Mirakel defines itself as different, having the final say it takes a step beyond the norm with a deeply ritualistic atmosphere of ruin and heresy that's simply engulfing. Its slow sluggish pace, illusive chants and gloomy wash of reverb makes for a gem in an all too typical record.

Favorite Track: Antikrists Mirakel
Rating: 5/10