Finally! The Swedish black metal formation Watain is back with a new album after three hard years of waiting. Firstly, for who expect this album is going back to their old style, This is not the case. “The Wild Hunt” lifts off from where “The Lawless Darkness” ended. Their new creation is to be called distinctive and daring but still very Watain. Here and there are some exotic noises and we are even getting treated to some nice solo’s.
The album weaves together with the dark sounds Watain is known for. Some classic Watain riffs easily merge with bombastic sounds and even some death metal-ish passages. In the song “They Rode On” we even get a little surprise when their vocalist Erik Danielsson uses clean vocals. In this song you can really hear him throwing some hard feelings out but still with a very dark sound. He even succeeds in not to sound whiney. This is a total contrast with the song “De Profundis” where the vocals feel like venom on skin. Erik’s vocals get very clear and even commanding in “The Child Must Die” together with raging and impactful drums.
Most songs contain those distinct Swedish black riffs. They alternate with exploding and melodious riffs. The beginning of “Sleepless Evil” reminded me of their former song “Reaping Death”. It is one of those songs that will blow your brains out in the first few seconds. The album may be a bit experimental but none of the songs will shake your view on the world of black metal. The album contains no game changing innovation in the genre, still the diversity on show is great enough to keep the listener interested. It does not get boring at any point and nothing feels out of place.
In the end the album really is very daring, and it is definitely a grower. I liked the album more when I heard it the second time than the first time. The more you listen to it, the more little gems you find in their darkness. I think Watain fans that are fond of the old work will rate this album way lower than I do but I have grown very fond of the newer work over the years. Even though this album sounds very distinctive, it still sounds like Watain. They deliver quality without losing their individuality and sound.
My conclusion: very nice earth scorching black metal!
Erik Danielsson – Vocals, bass
Håkan Jonsson – Drums
Pelle Forsberg – Guitar
Alvaro Lillo – bass (only live)
Davide Totaro – Guitar (only live)