WATAIN- Sworn To The Dark (Season Of Mist)
4 years after the release of their highly touted album Casus Lucierfi
, Sweden's WATAIN return with more of the same in Sworn To The Dark
. This is no bullshit black metal, nothing remotely orchestral, progressive, or 'avant-garde' about it. Their sound and general aesthetic reminds me most of GOATWHORE, much more than it does DISSECTION at least, a band that they are often compared to and sometimes accused of ripping off (I still don't get that at all but whatever). Perhaps those comparisons come up because both bands are (were) Swedish and WATAIN bassist/vocalist Erik Danielsson also played live with DISSECTION. I only hear the resemblance in certain places, and overall this album has a much more raw black metal feel to me as opposed to the many different aspects of metal that made DISSECTION so amazing. Sworn To The Dark
isn't so much focused around blast-beats and buzzing guitars, but lots of mid-paced riffs and groovier sections, with some thrashy parts and quiet intros for variation; the point is a lot of the album is very headbangable. There is lots of use of the 'classic' or traditional black metal chord progressions, so if you are a fan of that style of riffing and how they use the guitar you will probably enjoy this. Personally, that doesn't cut it for me much of the time; its good for a while, but it just doesn't move me over a period of an hour. Some people really latch onto that style, and that's what WATAIN delivers. The drumming is superb though, even as demanding as this music is for a drummer he really stands out. This is just what fans of pure black metal with a modern sound should expect.
The album is bookended by two 8-minute songs, "Legions of the Black Light" and "Stellarvore", each decent songs that sum up exactly what Sworn To The Dark
has to offer. In between there are a couple highlights, namely "The Serpent's Chalice', which features an incredible harmonized outro that does in fact sound like it was taken straight out of the Jon Nödtveidt book. "Dead But Dreaming" is a short instrumental comprised of a single soft guitar melody line, kind of like an intro to "Stellarvore". Otherwise the style doesn't deviate enough to comment about, some cool solos and riffs here and there but overall not too exciting.
Fans of the style should eat up Sworn To The Dark
; personally not quite my cup of tea, but I can still appreciate it.