While the late-model Swedish melodic heavy metal black metal distracts the audiences, this national scene with experiences a resurgence with a strong band influenced by equal parts of traditions of Merciless and newer melodic Norsecore. Similar to Triumphator, Ulver, and Marduk but more accomplished.

Rabid Death's Curse

Production: Loud and adept production of isolated sound.

Review: Within shuddering chromatic dirges this band deftly hide the beginnings of melodic songwriting and in the midst of the ensuing chaos subtly allow escape of memes from within unrelenting conflict between polar attitudes of the dominant motivic pair encapsulated in rhythm and tonal mean, adding ingredients to a primordial soup of fertile possibility which emerges slowly and shapes theme within the ostensible definitions of song as repeated structural components. Riffs sometimes too obvious for use become with the addition of layers of harmonization and pure melodic change, in transition and in continuity, a clustering of symbols related to the natural evocations of riff shapes.


1. The limb crucifix (4:21)
2. Rabid death's curse (5:21)
3. On horns impaled (2:35)
4. Life dethroned (5:45)
5. Walls of life ruptured (4:21)
6. Agony fires (5:22)
7. Angelrape (3:40)
8. Portem sibi consciscere (7:02)
Length: 38:29

watain rabid death's curse 2000 drakkar
Copyright © 2000 Drakkar

As composition, this is the mixed medium of rock and neoclassical art and hardcore that describes most metal, yet since its method is aggressive counterpoint of abstract implication more than harmonic completion, this style allows potent narrative through its inherent approach to complexity as a product of time. Its shaping of phrase lends itself to short bursts of information becoming cumulative in retrospect while its consciousness of the balance of phrase and placement in harmony necessary for pop music conducts arrangement and tone choice around the unfettered rhythm playing of manic guitarists.

A blur of incognition, drums flicker and pummel into motivational explosions of beat and synthesis. Instrumentation is clearly competent but instruments are played roughly for the sake of sound. Where many bands of the melodic black style have interpreted it strictly in the rock tradition, Watain escape that enclosure through an aesthetic enfolding its content in the spaces unexpected for structural discourse, and from this they make from uncertain beginnings the fomented anger of the continuation of a classic black metal sound.

watain casus luciferi 2003
1. Devil's Blood
2. Black Salvation
3. Opus Dei (The morbid angel)
4. Puzzles of flesh
5. I am the earth
6. The golden horns of Darash
7. From the pulpits of Abomination
8. Casus Luciferi
Length: 51:29
Casus Luciferi (Drakkar, 2003)
From the variation on a Mayhem riff that begins this album to its closing note, Watain clarify their position on black metal as a development of the sensibilities of the early Nordic years, but in doing so straddle a dangerous line: at some point, stripping black metal down to simpler riffs and more familiar song patterns takes away its aspirations of grandeur and renders it as melodic pop immersed in jagged riffing. Much of what those early bands captured was a sonic ugliness and randomness that made itself useful in the recounting of experience like poetry, where an initial concept mutated until it showed what held it back from fully developing and then, with a flurry of nihilistic violence conquering that, dove home into its gratifying full version of initial concept, resolving its fundamental questions in the height of its madness. That paradox is missing here; songwriting is closer to that of Dark Funeral or later Dissection in that it rocks along nicely as a sequence of beautiful sounds wrapped around basic riffs, convolving around a central concept that is evident from the first, and flowering through technique on a linear level. There is not much mystery here, although every minute of it is well-crafted and thanks to superior production sounds immaculately corrupt, and the result brings black metal closer to pop: consistency in musical expression balanced against a few moments of offbeat contemplation, ultimately aiming at gratification of aesthetic promise in a repeated, wallpaperlike pattern. Undoubtedly some of the most talented players in the genre today, this band would do better to go further into the roots of this music and uncover the mantle of ambiguity under which it would gesture, but never wholly gratify, the impulse toward a morbid freedom from comfort and balance. If this band were to realize that the best poetry comes from uncertainty and a journey farther away from safely consistent patterning, they could make of this style one possible savior for the ailing genre of black metal.

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