Watain - The Wild Hunt

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With last album Lawless Darkness proving a critical juggernaut and having broken out of cult status in to – dare we say it – genuine commercial success, Watain have pretty much guaranteed that new album The Wild Hunt would sell loads and have plenty of fans regardless of how good it might be. Like Slayer, Watain could quite happily put out new albums over and over now and everyone would still love them. Which is a shame in some regards, because The Wild Hunt is somewhat lacklustre. At its best, it is Watain-by-numbers – De Profundis, for example, has everything you might expect from a typical Watain song and there's little change to that formula. The problem is that these songs lack the big satanic black metal anthems that Sworn To The Dark and Lawless Darkness were drowning in. At its worst, The Wild Hunt is baffling – They Rode On, no kidding, unmistakingly sounds like Metallica's Nothing Else Matters, clean vocals and everything. Watain's desire for new direction is certainly laudable, and it sometimes works rather well (The tribal rhythms of Outlaw are the highlight of the album), but there are definitely directions that do not suit the band. There also isn't anything here to compare to the majesty of tracks like Waters of Ain, either. Still, Watain are pretty critic-proof (not that many critics seem to be eager to criticize them), and if Watain are still bringing you inexhaustible excitement, chances are that The Wild Hunt will only dull those fires slightly. More discerning black metal fans should be moving on, though.

Written by James Donovan
More: 2013, Albums, Black Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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