The Asian Invasion here and I've dabbled in black metal before to know that Watain are definitely one of the stalwarts of the genre. What really impressed me with their newest opus The Wild Hunt was how it basically gave black metal an overhaul, but a good one at that. Not only is it black metal at it's core but it delves into classic stuff, prog, thrash and has a melodic feel as well.
The opening track "Night Vision" sets the tone brilliantly as it seems more like a full fledged song, as opposed to most album openers that are rather bland. Creepy does well here. It absolutely lays the track for the amazing "De Profundis". The drumming stands out largely with it's killer blast beats and rolls throughout. These dudes have not lost their edge one bit, coming off their greatest album to date, 2010's Lawless Darkness.
For a big thrash fan like myself, I really made "All That May Bleed" a particular favorite in my book. The riffs rank up there with some of today's best thrash metal bands and I feel it just adds a super cool layer to this black metal parfait.
"They Rode On" is supplemented by beautiful female vocals in association with Erik Danielsson's superb deep and dark voice. This song is an epic if I ever heard one. The guitar work is incredible and if you ever want to hear a black metal power ballad, look no further. It feels like it was written for Opeth and coming from me that's a compliment of the highest order.
This album as a whole keeps the listener engaged all the way through. There is something here for everybody and I predict that this album will bring in a whole host of new Watain fans. Many hardcore fans might feel that they went a little to heavy on the progression but I, myself think progression of a bands sound is needed over time. If they stick to the same thing over and over again it gets boring and played out. Change is a good thing and Watain embraced it to it's full advantage.
They hit a Decibel magazine cover and are getting more and more popularity everyday. Watain is now officially in the company of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, although I don't think they'll make the same mistakes that those aforementioned bands made. Overproduced dribble is not in this bands vocabulary.
If your looking to slowly pick away at the surface and eventually dig deep down into the black metal world, this is most assuredly a great kick starter.
Well done my Swedish friends!