Sound — 6
Watain formed in 1998, with vocalist and mastermind, Erik Danielsson, writing all of the songs. Since then the lineup has been mostly consistent. "The Wild Hunt" is the band's fifth full-length studio release, and was released on Season of Mist and Century Media. There are 11 tracks on the album with an approximate runtime of 62 mintues.
The album opens up with an instrumental track titled "Night Vision," which makes a lot of use of the space between notes, utilizing silences for periods in the track, as well as conventional and unconventional instrumentation. The next track is "De Profundis" with lyrics that read like some kind of black mass and some creative uses of reverb and some simple riffing. "Black Flames March" is, musically, more atmospheric than anything, with the exception of a few passages of tremolo picking. "All That May Bleed" opens up with some flanger-heavy guitar riffing and then goes back to tremolo picking and satanic rambling. "The Child Must Die," at least, has some lyrical value as it is talking about coming to terms with death and change, but it mixes in more of the satanic mythology in the lyrics which blunts the message. Musically, it is also one of the more interesting tracks. "They Rode On" has a fairly quiet and clean intro, which could potentially fit anywhere from some country music to the black metal that it is, at least until the vocals come in. "Sleepless Evil" is just a very high tempo track, but it is fairly simplistic except for the speed and isn't especially noteworthy otherwise. The title track, "The Wild Hunt," has a very catch melody and is another song on the album that is pretty interesting. "Outlaw" has a really interesting guitar part in the intro, and a few other passages that caught my interest, but largely it is just more of the same. "Ignem Veni Mittere" is an instrumental track which does some really interesting things with melody and shows what the band is actually capable of. The album closes out with the track "Holocaust Dawn," which is pretty much back to the expected from Watain with heavy riffing and blast beats.
Lyrics — 6
Erik Danielsson provides vocals for Watain, being a founding member as well as the primary songwriter since the founding of the band. His vocals are somewhere between death metal and black metal in delivery, and usually you can make out his lyrics. He has used his lyrics since the band was formed as a vehicle for his spritiual/religious beliefs, as he considers himself, as well as other members of the band, as theistic Satanists. For those unaware, theistic Satanists actually worship a devil instead of normal Satanists who just believe in an extended concept of free will. Erik's vocal performance is decent, but I can't even begin to get behind his lyrics.
As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the track, "De Profundis": "Open/ ye crypt of woe, ye depths of death/ where haunts the siren's wail/ maddening and deafening/ open/ your heart and you might hear it, too/ pregnant with nightmares/ beckoning you/ to and fro, the winding darkness/ deepened gulfs and shallow graves/ crooked is the trail/ left by the dragon's tail/ and edged by the flesh of heroes/ who tried to slay him/ only to die like swine at his feet/ unto the eye of the storm/ where leads the narrow path of damnation/ the pipers dance in wicked ways/ drawn from the depths of an abyss unclaimed/ piercing the skies swollen with flame/ ever shall they rise from the underground/ the defiant chords of dissonance, to shatter harmony." It is straight up satanic rambling.
Overall Impression — 6
I can definitely get into some black metal and death metal, and sometimes even with bands that have ideologies I strongly disagree with, but it seems like Watain is pushing their ideology more than I can stomach, and that is their prerogative. I don't enjoy it. With a few exceptions, it is simplistic riffing or tremolo picking and blast beats on the drums, while the vocals sound like a teenager rambling in a graveyard at night pretending they're summoning evil spirits. Honestly, somebody should at least get these guys into some Aleister Crowley or Enochian mythology or something less juvenile. The exceptions I mentioned earlier would include the instrumental track, "Ignem Veni Mittere," "The Wild Hunt" and "The Child Must Die."