Watain - Trident Wolf Eclipse

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Sweden's Watain have earned every bit of adulation and praise on their rise one of black metal's premier groups. Since 2007's Sworn To The Dark, Watain have basically become the face of modern black metal with rigorous touring and highly anticipated albums. 2018 brings Watain's sixth studio album Trident Wolf Eclipse - a compact, concise and bloodthirsty take on the black metal sound that Watain themselves helped to bolster. If there's any criticism to Watain's more recent output, it'd be the length of their albums. 2013's The Wild Hunt and 2010's Lawless Darkness each clock in at over an hour in length (with Sworn to the Dark barely missing at 57 minutes). The albums themselves are chock full of great moments but it's quite a slog through an entire album that long. This brings about one of the best surprises of the new record - Trident Wolf Eclipse is 34 minutes long. Despite the short length, the songs are still stuffed with the unmistakable black metal riffing and melodies that Watain are known for. The album begins with Nuclear Alchemy, a track that hops back and forth between mid-paced melodic black metal and blastbeat-laden chaos. It's the perfect jumping off point for Watain - they're getting straight to the point with this release. Teufelsreich and Towards the Sanctuary are more melodic takes on black metal, evoking similar music to later-era Emperor or even some Taake in places. But whereas this album trims a lot of the fat from their last few releases, there's still some unexpected moments. Sacred Damnation makes use of acoustic guitars and Furor Diabolicus has an extended guitar solo amidst a groovy bassline at one point. It'd be enough to keep things interesting in a much longer album but here, it's several delightful twists and turns with barely any time to react. For a band entering their 20th year, Watain know when to focus in on no-frills black metal and when to experiment a little. Trident Wolf Eclipse may not reinvent the wheel, but it changes up Watain's formula enough to make them fresh and exciting again.

Written by Jackson May
More: 2018, Albums, Black Metal, Quickplay Reviews,

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