The Wild Hunt

Label: Century Media
Tre liknande band: Naglfar/Opeth/Dissection
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Night Vision (instrumental)
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 (instrumental)
11. Holocaust Dawn

Erik Danielsson (Lead vocals, bass & guitar)
Håkan Jonsson (drums)
Pelle Forsberg (guitar)

Rabid Death's Curse (2000)
Casus Luciferi (2003)
Sworn to the Dark (2007)
Lawless Darkness (2010)

Staffan Winroth (Accordion & fiddle)
Anna Norberg (additional vocals on 6)

Produced by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus studio in Alvik, Sweden & Watain
Cover art by Zbigniew M Bielak
Layout by Erik Danielsson
Ester Segarra (Photography)

Released 2013-08-19
Reviewed 2013-08-29

century media

There are plenty of know it alls when it comes to music and the reviewers… we are the worst! We think we know better than other people - than people that also listen to the albums and like or dislike what they hear. We might say "sure you love this album, but have you considered this and this and that which, if you analyze it, you may find makes it totally crap!" and you just say "no, I just love it! I don't care!"… touché! But that's how we are, and that's what people keep saying in reviews. But not those things, because reviews these days are written by phonies with a lesser value complex - they just want to be seen and heard, they don't really know anything and therefore they have to make reflection on other peoples glory - people that actually know something. But the best way isn't to thrash albums in reviews, it's to write that everything is great and give high scores (unless it's big and popular bands you're suppose to dislike then it's the other way around) and that's what keep happening out there. People ("reviewers") gives top scores, top scores, top scores, top scores and the awkward disapproval now and then. Just because the reviewers keep saying something is great doesn't mean it is so I'll present to you an album that's been praised and approved by everyone so far - 'The Wild Hunt' by Watain.

'The Wild Hunt' is the fifth studio album by my countrymen and within black metal these guys are already being seen as one of the greats. The critics (if we can call them that these days) swallowed the bait for real with this album but the band them selves haven't really hooked on that line so far. They don't really seem to know exactly where they stand at all, so much they've to much extent even swum a bit outside the black metal pond with this one. Now it's not like they've gone through drastic changes moving from the Black Sea to Lake Michigan, it's just a natural step - kind of like moving to the Caspian sea or something. But in the Caspian sea you go much deeper than the Black sea (not one the deepest depth level, but on surface level) and despite this album still being a black metal album with heavy and aggressive tracks, and super fast sometimes - like the Black Sea, it's also slow with a ballad and housetrained with acoustic guitars. Let's take the concluding track, Holocaust Dawn, as an example. It sounds pretty black metal on the title and also when you play it with a haunted mood and gurgling vocals in best black sea spirit but then I can also hear some accordion and an acoustic guitar there. It's definitely not a minimalistic feeling on this album, like most black metal album have - this is more maximalistic. It's like they've gone jeremy Clarkson and figured "more is better" - something you get the idea of when you consider the time factor as well. These eleven tracks takes a whole fucking hour to play through - and that's plenty when it comes to a black metal album (but still shorter that their last).

So here you figure - Oh, so Caj has gone all opposite the other reviewers, kind of like he always does. He just dislikes Watain because the others have loved it. But I don't dislike this album. I like how they've taken their black metal and made it bigger than it's genre. I might not love this album, but when it comes to black metal I think we've had enough of bands scaling it down and doing it uncomplicated - we need bands that scales it up and complicate things. Watain agrees with me that black metal doesn't have to be as black as the black sea all the time (or so it seems at least), it can be a bit more Caspian too. Black has shades too, though perhaps not a full 50 like grey has, so if you like the shades of black then come swim in Watains lake - they still have the black metal spirit but this lake goes all the way down below sea level when it begins. They're not just trying to pull you all the way down to a 2244 meters abyss, they stretch it out instead.

The biggest problem I have with this album, though, is its length. It doesn't matter that 'The Wild Hunt' is extremely varied and rich for a black metal album, it still starts to feel tedious and a bit repetitive by the end. It's like it doesn't know what it's suppose to say, only that it's suppose to say something. And because of this it sprawls and repeats at the same time - which have to be said is quite an achievement (but in a negative sentence). But there are plenty of good things too! For example I think the band makes a super performance with their instruments making every drum strike and vocal chord feel absolutely bang on! The production side, though, feels like the strongest link in the chain - it has brilliant sound quality, superb mixing and a really grand feeling over it. Depending on what you like, I can also guarantee that you'll find songs you like on this album… but a full hour long? I just can't see why!

The first eight tracks on this album takes almost 46 minutes to play through and already here I feel the length is quite enough. I even think it's on the verge of getting repetitive here already, but it would and could have been a great ending for the album as the eigth track is one of those grand and epic songs I feel Watain wanted to end their album with, considering they transformed the classic black metal tune Holocaust Dawn to one of those in it's dying minutes, but unfortunately Watain keeps going after The title track and makes three more songs, adding 17 extra minutes to the spectacle. And this is 17 minutes that doesn't add anything new we haven't heard on 'The Wild Hunt' already and therefor it only makes the ending feel - like I ended the paragraph before the last with - stretched out. So here comes the counterargument: why just not turn it off after eight tracks and 46 minutes? Why play the three extra songs if you don't like them? Well, I suppose I could do that… the only problem with that theory is that you turn it off prematurely. You end it before it's ending. It's like going to multi course dinner and then stop before the desert. Or going on a date with a super hot model like girl that turns out to be a complete idiot and you just sit through it all because you're waiting for "desert" but then leave before you get it. The point is - you can't just turn it off when you had enough if the work is not completed there. You don't turn movies off just because you think you've found a better place to end it, do you? A movie is a movie - and everything in it counts - just like an album is an album on the same logic. And even though I like this album I don't really think it takes me to places I've never been, it doesn't revolutionize the entire black metal scene and they haven't done an album that's grand and epic and fantastic. They've made a good album, but it has shortcomings. And it is too long…

…but I still think you should check it out!




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