Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse (2018)

Grammy-award wining artist Watain has shamelessly assumed the mantle of “most embarrassing band masquerading as black metal” previously shared by Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. Where the downfall of those two bands was an overdose of gothic and groove influences, Watain has managed to outdo both in both parody and bastardization of black metal with their previous album’s venture into country musical territory.  With a career built on celebrity guest spots from more capable underground metal musicians, necrophiliac 1st era Bathory Worship mixed with a second rate attempt to mimic Dissection’s concluding album, and a ridiculously cartoonist theatrical performance worthy of a Broadway musical, Watain’s legacy has been secured to forever be “the band that bent over farthest to inherit the phallus of commercialization the deepest” and has effectively decimated any hope of legitimacy the sub genre might have had in the post-90s.  With a brash new attestation in the form of Trident Wolf Apocalypse the truth could not possibly be more clear to any listener with knowledge of black and death metal: Watain are the biggest joke in all of black metal history.

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Watain – Reaping Death (2016)

Article by David Rosales.

I. Where is the music?

It is very rare to find a general fan of black metal today who has not at least heard of the name of Watain. The kind of fame it has attained, however, is the kind that is mostly based on peripheral affairs rather than the art which Watain is supposed to dedicate itself to. Watain is the kind of ‘entity’ (as most of these bands are now given to call themselves) that is surrounded by a nebulous aura which may at first, if one is inclined to be generous in providing the benefit of the doubt, seem like an hint of something truly profound going on. Now, whether that is the case in regards to the real, transcendent or philosophical knowledge or experience of the people behind Watain is not for the writer to say. On the other hand, the music itself does not seem to display any of the more-than-human qualities it should if one is to believe all the hype. In fact, it reveals itself as a very mundane affair when one is given to delve into a holistic examination of the music in itself, and even more so when seen in relation to the extra-musical portions of the ‘entity’.

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Watain – Lawless Darkness

Given that Watain claims to be “the most black metal band in the world,” you’d expect this to be a black metal album. Surprise — it’s not black metal. Not even close. It’s traditional heavy metal with harsh vocals and tremolo picked guitars. That’s odd given that the band claimed black metal would be “reborn” with the release of Lawless Darkness, although probably not a surprise to those who heard Sworn to the Dark and the “Reaping Death” single.

However, it would be easily forgivable if Watain made a credible attempt at traditional heavy metal. Forgetting all other criticisms, is Lawless Darkness any good? Of course not! Its confusion runs deeper than mistaking warmed-over Judas Priest cloning for black metal. To be fair, the aforementioned “Reaping Death” is one of the worst songs on the album (not the worst, though; that “honor” goes to the utterly abysmal, and amazingly terribly titled, “Total Funeral”).

However, the rest of the album suffers from the same essential flaw — namely, that the songs are constructed around two primary riffs, with loads of unrelated bridges in between to mask the essential simplicity of the songs. This was an obvious reaction against the fan reception of Sworn to the Dark (which was blasted for its simple 3 riff songs), but the complete lack of focus that this new structuring style brings is a far worse error: the songs are robbed of all drive, and are nearly guaranteed to put the listener to sleep.

The riffcraft is mostly excellent; the musicianship is quite proficient, provided you ignore the abysmal guitar solos; and the production is professional, although the drum production is quite possibly the worst since Metallica recorded St. Anger‘s drum tracks in a Porta-Potty. However, Lawless Darkness wastes this raw potential in songs with no impetus, no backing concept beyond “dark-sounding minor key noodling for a few minutes contrasted with more poignant minor key noodling.

The result is sonic wallpaper. You might enjoy it if you would stare at the texturing of drywall for hours on end. “Astounding! On this one, the stucco is sponged on instead of rolled! How unique!” – Cynical

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Watain, Withered, Ritual Killer and Sarcolytic in Austin, Texas

Watain, Withered, Ritual Killer and Sarcolytic
October 25, 2008
Red 7
611 E. 7th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Austin has come by its current status as Texas’ metal capital somewhat disingenuously; San Antonio, once a world-famous metal mecca, has continued to fail the genre with a dearth of viable venues or solid attendance. The irony is that most notable Austin shows have an audience with San Antonians comprising nearly one-half, along with a considerable supplement of Houston visitors. Nevertheless, Austin has the advantage with an endless supply of mediocre but metal-receptive venues combined with its centralized location, so legitimate or not it is now the city for Texas hessians to go for shows. Red 7 itself is at least spacious with a semi-decent PA, though its current lack of air conditioning made the room sticky and uncomfortable. Vex was the first act but this reviewer chose to stand out on the street due to the aforementioned conditions, but also because the band itself is so stylistically confused they are virtually unlistenable. Local death metal stalwarts Sacrolytic came next and delivered a solid set that was sadly compromised by its muddy sound. The band presents as a convincing Suffocation variant complete with BC Rich guitars and a storm of hair from the front line, but their live shows would definitely benefit from a personal sound engineer.

Ritual Killer

Ritual Killer is a side project of Goatwhore axeman Sammy Duet, though few people are aware of this so the band was obligated to stand on its own merits. They attacked a set of songs that were one part Hellhammer and two parts Blasphemy, and while the band delivered a competent show (the dreadlocked and visibly disturbed vocalist added an enigmatic touch to the proceedings) the songs quickly ran together and monotony set in. However, they seemed aware of the limited range of their material and the thirty minute set prevented them from overstaying their welcome. They were not bad by any means, but also not nuanced enough to make any lasting impact. If the band ever moves out of side project status they may end up with more to offer. Once again this reviewer stepped outside to breathe dry air and to avoid Book of Black Earth, a band who describes themselves as “death grunge” and may quickly realize that this label reads to most people as, “ignore us, we’re not credible”. This is precisely what happened; there was no reason for this band to be on the tour.

Withered

Withered came next and drew most everyone back into the room in the process. They play a brand of driving Swedish-style death metal that invokes early Amon Amarth but with an injected dissonance and feedback manipulation that recalls “Souls at Zero”-era Neurosis. This hybridization is more effective than it may sound, as Withered succeeded in creating atmosphere with a well-rehearsed application of various effects pedals and thoughtful interchanges between guitar, bass, and drums. Vocals were standard variations of screams and growls, but the vocalists proved to be savvy in knowing when to back off and let the music speak for itself. Even more impressive was the performance of the unit’s powerhouse drummer who displayed flair and blinding velocity on a very minimal kit; his triplet blast-beats with no sign of cheating or fatigue garnered many cheers throughout the set. The band as a whole executed their songs in a manner that reflected intelligence, conviction, and an almost idealistic brightness rarely seen in the metal underground circa 2007, and for that they should be commended.

Watain

Watain was preceded by the orange funk of carrion that was hung on iron poles around the stage like some kind of perverse holiday display. A synth-orchestrated introduction brought them to an enthusiastic crowd, and then the band voraciously tore into their set. The sound was a bit anemic and the band’s musical dynamic was stripped down due to their regular second guitarist being barred from entering the US, but it was a solid execution of material predominantly from “Sworn to the Dark” with tracks from “Casus Luciferi” and a single number from “Rabid Death’s Curse” to mollify the purists. Vocalist and de facto bassist E. Watain was appropriately the center of attention with his deranged and snake-eyed countenance that is just as charismatic as it is confrontational. He is not a large man so it is always impressive to hear a such gigantic voice rising out of him. He also seemed to be speaking in tongues or perhaps reciting incantations while not on the microphone, and it helped further the sense of madness on the stage. Watain’s latest album has been derided by some as too polished and too accessible, and while these charges aren’t wholly unfair it should be noted that the band has refused to give way to brevity in their compositions; most of the songs clock in at around six minutes and as such they are allowed to build and breathe to greater effect. One of the highlights was their rendition of “I Am the Earth”, which best summarizes Watain as a whole. Grandeur, violence, and passion are all equally present in this song, and the only thing that comes close to touching it is the current album’s “Stellarvore”, which also made its massive presence known this night. Ultimately, the Swedish quartet succeeded in their mission by living up to their infamous reputation along with creating many new converts to their cause. Music aside, they deliver some of the most dangerous showmanship since an odd young man named Per Ohlin took up with a death metal band from Oslo.

– Written by David Anzalone

Bands:
Watain
Withered
Ritual Killer
Sarcolytic

Promoters:
Red 7

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Poverty is the Price for Metal Stardom

The Talk:

Every metal musician needs to have “The Talk” at some point or another and for some of you, this will be that moment.  In the world of metal, “The Talk” is the soul crashing, dream obliterating conversation where one learns the valuable lesson that you can’t get rich playing extreme metal.  It’s heartbreaking and defeating but better learned sooner than later.  And since a young ambitious musician isn’t necessarily considering the logistics, lifestyle goals, etc. of their future before they drill on that pentagram neck tattoo, I want to make sure readers of DMU are abundantly clear on what to expect on the financial front when engaging in life as a touring musician.
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2018 Predictions

2017 was a year of total war and, culturally, a year of victory.  What it lacked in quality metal it made up for in illuminating many of the harsh truths about metal’s business side, the narcissism of metal musicians, disloyalty of metal fans, and the desperation of metal journalists to fit in with flavor-of-the-weak liberal hysteria.  Outside of metal, conservatism has won almost every battle and leftism continues to be on the defensive.  With the death of Antifa in America, the complete meltdown of liberal journalists in and outside of metal, and endless infighting and cannibalization within the left, 2017 has been perhaps the most amusing and fulfilling year in recent memory.

Yet as great as this last year was, we must keep our eyes on the future with maximum alertness as the war continues.  Therefore let’s leave the crystal ball reading to the crazy cat lady witches running Cvlt Nation and instead make some logical predictions on where the world of metal may be headed in the next year:

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Memo From Prozakhistan (07/11/16)

invoking_the_spirit

Greetings, fellow metalheads,

Times seem grim. The orcs have taken Osgilliath and approach the gates of the white city. Western Civilization is still dying, accelerated by democracy and consumerism, but rotten to its core with a lack of hope. Metal once gave that hope by showing us an alternate morality comprised of effective realism and epic mythos. Many of us want to live in that time again, but it will not happen through democracy or consumerism. We must choose our leaders and then all of us participate in restoring and advancing the greatness we have known.

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