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Watain

The Wild Hunt (His Master’s Noise/Century Media)

Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Aug. 2, 2013

Metallurgy

Black metal fights to keep the genre "pure" (lo-fi, three-chord nastiness), while struggling to evolve. Sweden's Watain lunges forward with acceptable BM dogma without sacrificing its sinister raw power. "De Profundis," "Outlaw" (with its Spanish guitar intro), and snarling single "All That May Bleed" erect angular guitar riffs and swirling arrangements into a skeletal edifice for blood-covered frontman Erik Danielsson to climb vocally like a spider. "They Rode On" saddles up Gothic majesty, while "Sleepless Evil" erupts drillbit guitar. Watain's secret weapon: unusually groove-oriented drums. While no radical rethink, The Wild Hunt boosts black metal up the evolutionary ladder. ***.5

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