CD Reviews > Watain

Watain - Lawless Darkness
Season of Mist

Watain’s fourth studio release, Lawless Darkness, is truly a Black Metal masterpiece! It’s as primal as a force of Nature, and just as both beautiful and dangerous! The album throughout stirs the very soul, awakening the Dark Side inside. The Crowgrrl highly recommends this album! It has instantly become one of my personal favorites.

Hailing from Sweden, Watain is: vocalist/bassist Erik Danielsson, drummer Hakan Jonsson, and guitarist Pelle Forsberg (although their joined on the live stage by guitarist Davide Totaro and bassist Alvaro Lillo). The dark ceremony that is Lawless Darkness has spawned 2 different versions of the single Reaping Death – one is a picture-disc vinyl version with a cover of “Chains of Death” by Death SS, a cd digipak featuring a cover of Bathory’s “Return to Darkness and Evil”.

The band has of course been touring in support of the album – including an appearance at the Sweden Rock Festival where they also performed a tribute to Bathory; a CD Release Party in London where Von – an American Black Metal band whose recording Watain inspired these Swedes to use the title as their own moniker – made a very rare appearance indeed, their first since 1992! And although Watain will be bringing their Hellfire to American soil for a full scale tour in November and December, they made a special appearance last Memorial Day weekend at the Maryland Deathfest.

About the latter appearance, Erik commented, “Back from the States now, still with blisters and bruises from the victorious storm unleashed at Maryland Deathfest. Hail to the legions of Watain supporters who came out to partake in our performance; you have truly grown in number and dedication! We very much look forward to a return for a full-scale onslaught later this year.”

Now, delving headfirst into Lawless Darkness, an eerie storm brewing pulls us into “Death’s Cold Dark”, which then explodes with blinding ferocity that makes the listener feel as though you’re teetering on the edge of an abyss. “Malfeitor” is a celebration of being pure Hellspawn, driven by the pure power of the racing guitars punctuated by fantastic solos and a fierce beauty in the outro. “Reaping Death” is a deadly harvest indeed as it unleashes ancient forces (the solo in this one is excellent!). The majestic “Four Thrones” is a gorgeous tribute to the Infernal Elemental Princes.

The mystic woodland night where only the sound of crickets brings a peaceful setting, until the silence is broken by feral wolf howls brought by the lycanthropic “Wolves Curse”. The impressive “Lawless Darkness” title track is a luscious dark instrumental that sends shivers down the very spine. The merciless “Total Funeral” is extremely chilling. The powerful conjuration that is the “Hymn To Qayin” is inundated with dark beauty; and mythologically Qayin refers to two entities: first is an alternate spelling to the biblical Cain, the other a Horned Father of the Hidden Craft and brother to Naamah-Lilith.

“Kiss of Death” is a Promethean search for and embracing of Enlightenment – and features a phenomenally gorgeous outro punctuated with storm FX. The timeless beauty of “The Waters of Ain” sparkles like stars in the night sky – it’s a 13+ minute opus that depicts a homesick Vampire’s return to his one beloved home. The Crowgrrl loves the mesmerizing Vampiric spoken word break; and the FX of waves crashing against a rocky shore are a nice touch as well.

The review copy also featured the aforementioned Death SS cover “Chains of Death” that was featured on the vinyl Reaping Death single. I’m not familiar with the original, but I can attest to the fact that this version ROCKS! You can feel its power in every fiber of your being!

~Athena Schaffer