Watain has become one of the most famous black metal bands of all time. The Swedish black metal scene has gained lots of respect due to some of the bands it’s been producing such as Dark Funeral, Arckanum, Marduk, Naglfar, Silencer, Lord Belial, and most notably, Watain. For those of you that didn’t hear, Watain won the Swedish Grammy award for “best hard rock performance” with their performance of the song Lawless Darkness. Although the Swedish black metal scene isn’t as big and as prominent as the black metal scenes in Finland and Norway, I still feel that it has had an influence on the genre.
So after quickly gaining more status with each album, Watain has worked their way to the upper-class with Darkthrone, Satyricon, Taake, and Belphegor (not traditional black metal, I know). Just like Soilwork, Immortal, and Born of Osiris, each album Watain has released is better than the previous; in other words, Watain’s music gets better with each album. They have reached the point where I feel that they are currently at their point of zenith. Lawless Darkness is Watain’s best album, no questions asked.
The first quality that one would notice is that Watain has picked up the pace (in the areas of speed). No, it’s not anywhere near as Dark Fuenral, but it’s a lot faster than Casus Luciferi. The drummer on this album has a huge drum set that actually mainly consists of just about every type of cymbal you can think of. This drummer loves his cymbals, and he uses them a lot. He has some of the cymbals on his set turned way down so they’re just atmospheric sound in the background. His kickdrums aren’t tuned super low, but he has the really low tones that can only be heard with subwoofers turned up.
Their vocalist is interesting. He has a lot of his lyrics based on Satanism and the Occult. But on this album, a lot of his lyrics fit in the areas of ancient European mythology (probably Swedish), darkness, and hate (pretty much just venting). He’s definitely one of the best black metal vocalists out there. Having relatively high-pitched vocals, the sound of his voice has actually changed quite a bit over the years.
Lawless Darkness is one of the most satisfying black metal albums I’ve ever heard. I would not be surprised at all if these guys reached the same status as Mayhem, Burzum, and Immortal. Now there are a lot of those conservative black metal fans that don’t like Watain because they’re too popular and not super underground with low-quality recordings (nothing against that kind of black metal, I love it). I feel that people should give this record a listen. 20/20.