Each new release by Watain definitely attracts the attention of numerous fans in the black metal community; this is not absurd of course, given the heavy tradition that the band bears since their early years (see “Rabid Death’s Curse” and “Casus Luciferi”). Upon the announcement of their new release curiosity grew bigger, as five years ago “The Wild Hunt” deviated significantly from previous works, adopting a more epic/heavy metal and melodic sound and causing discordance among fans. Hence, “Trident Wolf Eclipse” would be an answer to many questions regarding Watain’s musical direction.

From the first moments, it’s evident that the band preferred to re-introduce themselves and return to their earlier, more violent style (up to the “Sworn To The Dark” era), without experimenting further; that means that elements that triggered surprise in the two previous albums (clean vocals, ballads, melodies among others) are absent.

The easily recognizable, aggressive Watainian aspect arises in “Nuclear Alchemy”, “Furor Diabolicus” and “Ultra (Pandemoniac)”, where up-tempo speed and riffing outbursts will sure lead to the torture of many necks. However, more melodic approach can be heard in songs like “Sacred Damnation”, “A Throne Below” and “Towards The Sanctuary”, where riffs remind something of the past, without reaching the same high standards though. Likewise, the slower speed of “Teufelsreich” casts doom, dark feelings.

A special mention should be made to “Antikrists Mirakel”, the bonus track contained in the Deluxe Edition; its slow, harrowing riffs, discreet drumming and almost narrative vocals create a rather clairvoyant, unholy atmosphere, coming out of a dark ritual, closing the album in a very distinctive way.

The compositions of “Trident Wolf Eclipse”, either aggressive or melodic, will surely satisfy many fans with their precise riffing, Danielsson’s familiar harsh vocals and overall black metal esthetics. However, some parts are rather puzzled and naive, lacking the inspiration and chaotic structure of past records. The raw, storming menace of “Rabid Death’s Curse”, the nightmarish darkness found in “Casus Luciferi” and “Sworn To The Dark” and the creativity, experimentation and chaos of “Lawless Darkness” are missing. Undoubtedly, “Trident Wolf Eclipse” is a terrific opportunity for new fans to “meet” the band; the older ones (including me), will remain loyal to earlier albums.

♦ 7/10

Alex Nikolaidis