Watain – The Wild Hunt

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Review by Chop

Century Media

Not so much a review as a retrospective perhaps? It’s always tricky when you’re requested to review an album after its release, or even trickier a re-release. At least it’s the former on this occasion…

Fans of the band will already have this and have no doubt formed an opinion already. So I guess this is an effort to enlighten those still unsure whether to invest or not? Whilst not the greatest black metal album in the history of mankind – or should that be nihilism? – Watain’s latest outpouring of dark emotions certainly has more ups than downs. From the quiet before the storm intro, through several variations of darkness, this is an album you need to hear – to form your own opinion if nothing else.

Neoclassical intro ‘Night Vision’ is the precursor to the blitzkrieg opener proper ‘De Profundis’, which is as fast and furious as you’d expect. Much of the ensuing chaos is exactly what you’d expect too. But then the band have the cojones to throw in two massive curve balls that will divide opinion almost as spectacularly as whether Opeth are genius or pretentious twaddle (former for me again!). The title track and ‘They Rode On’ are the Marmite moments here – and there will be no middle ground. Personally it’s a case of ‘close but no cigar’ and ‘let’s see how it works live’ (if they play it) as far as I’m concerned. Bold attempts to bare their darkened souls and try something hugely different at the very least.

Overall, it’s fair to say that this album is a grower that needs repeated plays to really get to grips with. It works for me, but that’s with the benefit of multiple plays which is a rare luxury as far as my reviewing technique goes. It’s really all a question of perception and open-mindedness. Give it a go – preferably repeatedly on headphones – and judge for yourself. Perhaps not the wonder album that the music media have suggested, but still more than worthy of your attention. Tour dates have been announced for December, so it won’t be too long until you get a chance to judge properly if it works or not. Get your claws ready as I suspect you’ll be grinning evilly until a certain gentleman in red with a big beard arrives. Assuming you’ve all been good of course…

Watain - The Wild Hunt8 out of 10

Track listing:

  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