Watain - Trident Wolf Eclipse
Century Media
Black Metal
9 songs (41:52)
Release year: 2018
Watain, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat

After the controversy of an ill-received album, it's a pleasant surprise to hear a band go back to its roots, and Sweden's Watain have done just that. Ditching much of the melody, as well as the clean vocals and Bathory-esque hymns of The Wild Hunt, full-length number six is instead an intense, driven black metal basics album that will repair the band's reputation with many. Thrashy, post-Mayhem blasting terror is largely what Watain provide here, and they do it well. Opener Nuclear Alchemy kicks straight in, hitting Marduk-speed almost immediately and despite the lack of melodic bells and whistles it's not uncatchy, driven by the almost grinding guitar riffs and Erik Danielsson's croaking growl. Given a sense of technical power thanks to the vibrant, shifting drums that often blast but equally often change things up, it's a hell of an introduction to 2018.

Sacred Damnation follows it up well, a Mayhem-y sounding intro riff soon leading to aural apocalypse, the track then moving slower and more atmospherically in an instrumental section that doesn't quite turn proggy but does show that there are depths to Watain's sound even when it's as stripped back as this. Teufelsreich continues this slower pace, a snarled vocal lead reminiscent of the previous album's The Child Must Die, while much of Furor Diabolicus builds up to a final burst of highly enjoyable speed. The album's best moments come from this letting the brakes off, when Watain just go for broke - the atmospheric yet fast A Throne Below, the blackened thrashing of Ultra (Pandemoniac). Aggressive, fast, heavy, and powerful, keeping the dark flame of the band's black metal image burning, this is the sort of thing that plays to Watain's strengths perfectly, as much as I did enjoy the band stretching themselves previously.

It's far from a perfect album - the production could definitely be a little clearer, for one, and some of the later tracks are a little forgettable. In particular, the longest present, the seven-minute-plus finale Antikrists Mirakel, is downright boring, a slower, doomier piece that doesn't have nearly enough variety in it to make it interesting. Fortunately Trident Wolf Eclipse as a whole is consistently impressive, despite the slightly silly 'three random words' title!

Killing Songs :
Sacred Damnation, A Throne Below
Goat quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Watain that we have reviewed:
Watain - The Wild Hunt reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Watain - Lawless Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
Watain - Casus Luciferi reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Watain - Sworn to the Dark reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
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