about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_watain_thewildhunt001006.jpg
I have to admit that Watain, in the past, have never been a must. I've listened to many songs from their previous four albums but, to be fair, they've never really hit the mark with me. It’s fair to say that I'm not a fan of the 'True Black Metal Movement' and its beliefs. Narrow minded or misinformed I might be, but membership of this so called 'elite' movement appears to consist of albums with production values that a five year old could probably master, a cacophony of blast beats and painful screams that could pass as the soundtrack to someone being flayed alive, a few 'dodgy' views on life and a fanbase that derides anything slightly different. Why am I telling you this? Well, that's because Watain have just released, what will be, their most debated album to date, 'The Wild Hunt'. Incredibly, I have already seen a review of this album from a 'true' follower, who has given it a 'ONE PERCENT' score and said that the band long ago sold out and that this is a truly laughable release. I can just see hordes of fans sitting in their bedrooms (still living with Mum & Dad of course), posters of the gods Belphegor, Satan or Astaroth slowly peeling off the walls and corpse painted faces ruined from the amount of tears cried! Now, before I get shouted at, I'm not purposefully poking fun and I know there are many dedicated fans of this genre, but I really find it difficult to understand this attitude.

I'm now going to tell you that 'The Wild Hunt' is by far and away the finest album Watain have put their name to. A mature and, sometimes, gorgeous album that still has a black metal heart but has moved into exciting new areas. We aren't talking Dimmu Borgir proportions of melody and accessibility but it's going to grab a whole new army of fans and it could see this band becoming a force to be reckoned with in the wider metal community. After the fantastically atmospheric instrumental opener 'Night Vision' comes the first track proper, 'De Profundis', with its speed and death metal underbelly, but also slower sections that, as far as I'm concerned, is a serious statement of intent. Following track 'Black Flames March' is where 'The Wild Hunt' really opens up properly, though, with a medium paced beat of thunder that brings to the fore Watain's love of Quorthon and Bathory. The chorus riff would be very at home on 'Hammerheart' or ‘Blood Fire Death' and I love it! Many of the songs have a Bathory feel, and that's not a criticism (I adore Bathory). However, there is one song that will divide the fanbase completely and that is 'They Rode On'. This is the album’s centrepiece and, at nearly nine minutes, also its longest track. Watain, wait for it, have written a ballad and it has completely clean vocals! Inspired and beautiful are not words I have used before when talking about this band but, simply, this is the best track they have put their name to. Actually, it's one of the best I've heard all year by any band. Hauntingly melodic, with a fantastic guitar solo and very good vocals, this one song has utterly intrigued me to see where Watain go next with their music.

To perhaps appease some fans, following song 'Sleepless Evil' hits you like a battering ram, once again with a more death metal feel; the title track mixes clean and harsh vocals to great effect; 'Outlaw' almost has an industrial feel in places and album closer 'Holocaust Dawn' had me vigorously nodding my head. Do you know what? I actually like every track on 'The Wild Hunt' and I never thought I would say that about a Watain album! Far from being a band that have sold out because they've signed a deal with Century Media (another claim I've seen), I honestly believe, as a person that lives, eats and breathes all sorts of metal and rock (because of the love of the music) that Watain have just grown up and found their true voice and what a voice it's turned out to be!
Century Media
Review by Rick Tilley
19th Aug 2013
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
"A mature and, sometimes, gorgeous album that still has a black metal heart but has moved into exciting new areas."