Watain – Lawless Darkness

by
May 30, 2010 –
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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

No comments

  • fffffff

    man, your handle is Cynical, you must be quite the cynic, tell us more about how jaded you are

  • batman

    This whole new wave of Swedish/French bullshit black metal is the worst thing to happen to the genre since Cradle of Filth. I hope Deathspell Omega, Watain, and Funeral Mist all follow in their idol’s footsteps soon, if only to cut down on noise pollution.

  • fuck

    Why is this on the front page? Stop whining about it, and let it fucking rot.

    inb4 Adrian McCocks telling us that nu metal is bad

  • Harold Shipman

    Great review. Spot on.

    Watain are Cradle of Filth in kvlt disguise. And they would have got away with it too, if it weren’t for you pesky kids.

  • Nigger Borat

    watain’s first album owns

    this one is boring but who is surprised???????? NO ONE lmao haha lol

  • TJ

    Hi, I’m a slightly overweight Middle American, and I’ll be a first day buyer when it comes out on iTunes. Along with the new Nachtmystium of course…

  • OSW

    Let the recent flux of swedish bouncy pop metal die a’ thsowsands deeiaths. But just to contradict this post, I think the first Funeral Mist album is great.

  • chaosgoat666lol

    Sadly, it seems that rock and roll "black metal" is a fairly large and quickly growing trend. I disagree completely with the reviewer’s comment about the drum sound, however. It’s quite generic and would make more sense for rock or death metal (with a different snare tuning, maybe), but I don’t see how it’s incompetent – especially on the magnitude of St. Anger’s utter failure. Lars obviously intended for his snare drum to be turned off, but the overtones (unwanted ringing from improper tuning) are ridiculous.

  • stuff

    I have only listened to this band once and cannot remember what they sound like. I didn’t watch them live at the Maryland Death Fest this year either.

  • Adrian McCoy is telling you to fuck off!!!

    I agree, this newer black metal shit does’nt make the cut for me…

    I wish it was the early nineties when death and black metal bands actually put out good records…

    AND FUCK MALLCORE AND HORRORCORE TOO!!!

    That shit was never good and those bands should be fucking killed…

  • Adrian the main man McCoy...

    How about you post your addresses before you start calling me a cocksucker huh assholes?

    I dare you to start posting your addresses, I’ll fucking burn your houses down and beat the living shit out of all you faggots…

    YOU SUCK COCK NOT ME!!!

  • Adrian the herpa derp McDerp

    Disregard that, I derp derps.

    Also, my adress is 123 herpa derpa street SACRAMENTO CALIFORNIA.

    ‘cum’ find me, guyz.

  • batman

    What the fuck is horrorcore? Like Impetigo and Machetazo, or what? ’cause those bands are awesome.

  • hurr

    careful, McCocks. You don’t want to get buttraped in jail for threatening a band again, do you?

  • Um, yeah..

    Review is pretty much dead on: it’s as if a Judas Priest tribute band started playing Black Metal.

  • Adrian ius telling you to fuck off!!!

    Fuck you fake metalheads….

    I know more about metal than any of you…

    SO FUCK OFF!!!!!

  • Erik Watain

    Fuck off and die for your shitreview. Me and Adrian are going to go ride our motorcycles and then he will suck my midget-sized cock.

  • bitchcock

    I love these comments. It’s a great place for trolls to congregate. Keep up the good work, Adrian McCoy, I appreciate it.

  • Adrian pities you all

    I’m not gay you stupid fuck…

    You homophobic assholes have no life whatsoever…

    By the way, what do you think of the band Defiance?

  • Interesting review...

    An example of horrorcore would be Three-6 Mafia’s Mystic Stylez.
    As far as Watain is concerned…eh, I’ve heard worse. Not really worth listening to, but nothing worth getting upset about. It makes for inoffensive background/work music.
    “It’s traditional heavy metal with harsh vocals and tremolo picked guitars.” Isn’t that the description of the first black metal band? I think they were called Venom. Seems to me they invented the term, too.

  • BloodyAmericans

    This is another example of why anus.com review suck. The best black metal album this year and the retarded little american kiddies thinking themselves reviewers write a crap review about it. The Funeral Mist – Maranatha review already showed me that this website doesn’t know shit about black metal. Stick with the Cradle of Crap and Crapallica bull, seems any other music is too hard for Americans to understand

  • Jan

    …..i say that too: this site knows shit about black metal!!! Lawless darkness is an atmospheric,cold and dark (black)metal album! nice guitar sound! Like it very much!!! And what the fukk is “TRUE”???