Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Watain - The Wild Hunt (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 20/8/2013
Label : Century Media

The Wild Hunt, album tracklisting:
1. Night Vision
2. De Profundis
3. Black Flames March
4. All That May Bleed
5. The Child Must Die
6. They Rode On
7. Sleepless Evil
8. The Wild Hunt
9. Outlaw
10. Ignem Veni Mittere
11. Holocaust Dawn

Erik Danielsson – Vocals, bass
Håkan Jonsson – Drums
Pelle Forsberg – Guitar
Set Teitan (Davide Totaro) – guitar (live only)
Alvaro Lillo – bass (live only)


Watain is a band that needs no introduction to many people. They have been at the forefront of the black metal scene for many years. This, their fifth album, is the follow up to career peak, Lawless Darkness (2010).

In true Watain fashion, the band pushes the boundaries of what a true black metal band should represent. The sound here is rich throughout, and the band are at the crossroads of either breaking into the mainstream or going back underground. Although the band has a more varied sound on ‘The Wild Hunt,’ they retain their black metal credentials.

The pummelling ‘De Profundis,’ shows that the band has not lost their edge. The drums and the guitars are furious and dense. The vocal is snarling and it’s a superb way to really open the album after the rather mellow opening track, 'Night Vision.' Lead single, ‘All That May Bleed,’ follows next. This track gave clues as to some of the subtle changes that the band had made to its sound. The double kick drums are not as frenetic and the vocals, although sneering, are less frantic. The bass is very distinguishable and the riffs are solid.

‘The Child Must Die’ has a more traditional rock approach before The Wild Hunt reaches its epic centre piece. ‘They Rode On’ is a near 9 minute track that is a Wild West tinged black folk opus. Wailing guitars and a multi layered sound create a colossal sounding track that is sung using completely clean vocals. The track would definitely piss off the black metal purist fraternity, however if it’s taken at face value, you can see that the band is multi talented in that they can turn their hand to a range of styles.

If you’re listening with your black metal head on, and you did feel a tinge of annoyance at ‘They Rode On,’ the proceeding track, ‘Sleepless Evil’ will have you back onside. The band revert back to what they are masters at; a complete black metal wig out. It’s absolutely fantastic. More traditional metal/rock is employed on ‘Outlaw’ after a maelstrom of kick drums and enraged riffing. A great solo is planted in the middle of the track and it’s a bonafide neck wrecker!

Closing track, 'Holocaust Dawn' has more fury about it, but is laced with lots more down tempo music akin to how the album begins. As the sun sets on The Wild Hunt, the band plays out with the drums punishing, and the guitars building a sonic wall.

The album is most certainly a furious triumph. Whilst being experimental for a band of Watain’s ilk, it keeps a true black metal spirit. Watain may lose a few of their hardcore fans with this one, but I think many will be more than happy with it. Along with this, it may see a few more people pick the record up.

Words by : Dominic Walsh

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy the record here. This record will be available everywhere on 20/8/2013. Thanks to Nina @ Noise Cartel,