The last few decades Watain has managed to gather quite a following. With albums “Casus Luciferi”, “Lawless Darkness” and “Trident Wolf Eclipse” they manage to display pure blackness in excellent form with their melodic yet harsh Black Metal. Especially their live rituals are a lust for the soul. After four years they are back with another full length called “The Agony and Ecstasy of Watain”.
By recording this album live in the Necro Morbus studio they managed to capture the live experience without forgetting a good production. The sound is crystal clear, yet raw and gives enough space for all the instruments and the signature vocals of Erik Danielsson to thrive. And aided with Alvaro Lillo on bass and Hampus Eriksson (Unpure) on guitar the sound is very powerful.
Helas, they are off with a wrong start on the first track. Although “Ecstasies in the Night Infinite” starts very fierce the drum patterns in the middle section of the song suck all the energy right of this track. Luckily second song and single “The Howling” is a great song which reminds me a bit of the “Trident” album while “Serimosa” has a more adventurous approach in vein of “The Wild Hunt” album albeit more coherent (and more appreciated if you ask me).
“Black Cunt” starts of quite aggressive but manages to have more up its sleeve with shifting pace into more threatening and slower regions while “Leper’s Grace” shows some really cool and in your face Thrash elements. “Not Sun nor Man nor God” is an interlude to “Before the Cataclysm” and opposite to what I expected this song is not only muscles, speed and brawn but manages to harbor some excellent melodies while not giving full throttle but displaying a calculated show of force.
“We remain” aided by the superb voice of Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood) is a tough to swallow at first but eventually managed to creep under my skin with its slow and haunting tunes. “Funeral Winter” is a speed monster like only Watain can make them and closing track “Septentrion” creates an epic ending to this sonic venture.
I must admit I had my regards concerning this record at first. Probably because the first song is a really tough nut to crack. But after listening this album multiple times I can only conclude that Watain manages to surpass my expectations with a really enthralling album. Aggressiveness, subtle details and haunting melodies go hand in hand on this album. Combine this with quite some experiments, while not forgetting its roots Watain manages to absolve me from all my doubts. I am really looking forwarded seeing and hearing these songs live in a venue but meanwhile I will settle with this album on my home stereo. Watain is back – and in excellent form I must add. Get yourself a digital or physical copy as soon as you can and let your ears feast and soul consume the darkness presented on this great offering!
Score: 8,5 / 10
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: 27 April 2022
Review made by: Erik
- Ecstasies in Night Infinite
- The Howling
- Black Cunt
- Leper’s Grace
- Not Sun nor Man nor God
- Before the Cataclysm
- We remain
- Funeral Winter