February 24, 2019
Watain have somewhat come to encompass the quintessence of Black Metal for me as they combine all facets, e.g. sinister accelerated passaged, aggressive raspy vocals, melodies, riffage galore along with lyrical content circling around theistic satanism, misanthropy, individuality and more philosophical themes.
In a live context, Watain is an energetic force of nature with a consistent and, for the genre, borderline polished yet at the same time visceral and primitive sound. The fact that the band loves their rituals and pyro only amplifies their theatrics.
A well-oiled machine that takes no prisoners and expertly bulldozes whatever it may find in its way, the fact that every now and then a tune is carried by a hefty, stompy groove helps things from getting too one-dimensional.
It is remarkable that six albums into their career, highlights of the set tonight are the in-your-face songs from their most recent emission, the change of dynamics of which only enhances the fiery aural assault. While the band is certainly able to showcase nuances and can draw from a large repertoire, the songs from “Trident. Wolf. Eclipse” are a masterclass in thrashing brutality.
The chaos that ensues as a result of their sonic mayhem including quite a bit of disconcerting feedback recycling is enthusiastically celebrated by their faithful audience as they are pummelled by tremelo riffing and blast beats.
As far as tradition is concerned, they know how to honour the legacy of the genre, yet they always infuse their style with enough experimental parts to keep one on one’s toes.
Watain is without a doubt one of the most musically adept and powerful bands to have ever emerged from the grim realm of Black Metal and they offer a matching live show that is edifying.