WATAIN’S TRIDENT. WOLF. ECLIPSE is the first release of 2018, and the band’s first since 2013’s THE WILD HUNT *(and the subsequent suicide of guitarist/songwriter SELIM LEMOUCHI, a very important component to this album), and their sixth full length altogether. Right off the bat I can say it was well worth the wait, as WATAIN find themselves back to full form of blasphemous butchery and heretic sound. This is straight up slit your fukking throat Swedish Black Metal, very much in the grand tradition of DISSECTION, MARDUK and BATHORY, presented with WATAIN’S own particular spin on the genre’s sound, visual, and spiritual aesthetics.
I’d like to state for the record that, for all intents and purposes, Black Metal is a genre that’s seen very little in the way of progression since the actual first Norwegian/Swedish wave in the early ‘90’s. The look, the sound, the ideas spewed forth, it all became very redundant very quickly, with most newer bands merely practicing a lame apery *(there are always exceptions, such as Philadelphia’s DEVIL MASTER). What catches me about WATAIN *(who’ve been around since ‘98) is the sheer originality they somehow manage to bring to the fore with each subsequent release, this one being no different. Receding back from the epic/proggish factor of THE WILD HUNT, TRIDENT. WOLF. ECLIPSE instead rides a razor of raw blackened emotion into the bloodfire sunset.
The album opens with the chaotic hellride fury of “Nuclear Alchemy,” clearcutting its way through the speakers and into your skull, and within seconds you know where every being stands. Interestingly enough, the album seems to not build up, but rather work its way down, into a doom charred climax of apocalyptic rot and soulside suicide, that first track being of the most vicious. I noticed as I was listening the slight variances in both nuance and chord arrangement from song to song, often right within song, noticing that this is music written very deliberately, perhaps even channelling things most will never *(nor would they want to) understand *(make no mistake, their satanism – – – or Devil Worship, as vocalist ERIC DANIELSON prefers to call it – – – is theistic and very real, their live performances consisting of fire, ritual, and gallons of real animal blood, lots of myth and rumor, and a litany of legal problems everywhere they go).
At about the ⅔ mark, beginning with the VENOM-infused “Ultra (Pandemoniac),” the album very audibly begins its descent into all encompassing and irretrievable darkness. Different rapacious animal rhythms come into play, the instrumentation growing to an evermore insidious crawl with each blastbeat blitzkrieg until all that’s left is the smouldering rubble of *(my favorite track on here) “The Fire Of Power,” leading into the ultimate finality of “Antikrists Mirakel.” At just over 41 minutes, this is a furious ride into the bowels of the abyss, a quick aural blowjob from the kiss of apocalypse.
Now, I only learned about WATAIN a few years ago, and it was from none other than that B Movie Brujo, ANDROID VIRUS, and in a fairly roundabout way. He’d actually just turned me on to THE DEVIL’S BLOOD, the other band of guitarist SELIM LEMOUCHI, and musically much different, but no less genuine about its occult aesthetic. SELIM LEMOUCHI was a songwriting genius, his ability to audibly project with hate or love or both being far beyond that of the average “metal” musician. His music transgressed all of that, was something more, something very different. In March 2014, SELIM took his life at 33, for reasons pertaining to both his spiritual leanings and unbreakable depression. It left not just a void of unique genius in the world of music, but a dire loss of many things among those whom he created with and around. I bring all this up because it pertains to this album in a very big way. Of losing his best friend and a major artistic collaborator, ERIK DANIELSON has said: “There’s no hiding the fact that in between THE WILD HUNT and this album we had to bury one of our members and go to his funeral together. It perhaps underlines the gravity of the album and that this is not about fucking around. This is not a game. This is life and death. This is what Watain are about.” That sums it all up far better than I ever could.
TRIDENT. WOLF. ECLIPSE by WATAIN is a work of modern Black Metal brilliance, far surpassing just about anything else out there, not just in-genre, but in the whole of the metal world. It’s bleak, intense, and very real in its intent, take from it whatever you will. Recommended for any fan of more extreme sounds. 2018’s already been a motherfukker meat grinder of a year, and this is a pretty goddamned good accompaniment to that menagerie of misery.
VINCENT DAEMON is a writer of the macabre & nonfiction, reviewer, editor, essayist, student of Phenomenology and the Occult, musician, founder of Grave Demand Publishing, social observer, photographer, historian of film/music/literature and the general strange. His Weird Fiction has appeared in over 40 anthologies and periodicals, in both print and digital. He’s also contributed hundreds of film, music, and book reviews to T.I.F. and various other sites. Whatever is not out-of-print can be found at AMAZON and in various dark corners of the internet. For a free sampling of his work, check out his stories at the FREEZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION: http://freezineoffantasyandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/ To sample the multitudes of music he’s recorded over the years, check out VINCENT DAEMON’S AGE OF DESIRE at Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 He can be found at Facebook, as well. MUSICIANS! WRITERS! FILMMAKERS!: If you would like your work reviewed/covered in the ROSETTA BONES, please send works and materials to email@example.com.