Next review: » Watain - Lawless Darkness
Released: 2010, Season of Mist
You have to be the proud owner of a truly man-sized set of testicles to big up your forthcoming opus as "the rebirth of black metal" - especially in a year that's already seen stiff genre competition from particularly Burzum and 1349. But then, Sweden's Watain have never been short on confidence, their previous disc - 2008's SWORN TO BLACK - as much a statement of intent as it was a classy slab of misanthropic caterwauling.
Ironically for all its chest-beating, LAWLESS DARKNESS isn't nearly as impactful. To a song, it's melodic buzzsaw riffing follows a formula that's never a million miles away from the route you'd have expected Dissection to have gone down had Jon Nodveidt not decided to shuffle off this mortal coil. The sleek production hints at machinations of being the next Dimmu Borgir, but the ham-fisted predictability of "Four Thrones" and "Total Funeral" suggest that this is unlikely to ever be the case. In fact, LAWLESS DARKNESS only truly manages to come into its own on the epic closer, "Waters of Ain". Here expertly orchestrated atmospherics meet a bona fide meanstreak to form an almost perfect alchemy - even if, at nearly fifteen minutes in length the album is bound to have stretched some listeners' patience well past their limits by this point.
Interestingly the band's relentless self-promotion appears to have already borne fruit in the shape of gold disc recognition for the record's lead single, “Reaping Death”, and a host of front cover appearances on several highly respected extreme music tomes. This would suggest that I'm soundly off base in my assessment, but as someone who was a huge fan of their earlier work, I wouldn't bet on it.
1. Death’s Cold Dark
3. Reaping Death
4. Four Thrones
5. Wolves Curse
6. Lawless Darkness
7. Total Funeral
8. Hymn To Qayin
9. Kiss of Death
10. Waters of Ain
* E (Erik Danielsson) - vocals, bass
* H (Håkan Jonsson) - drums
* P (Pelle Forsberg) - guitar
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