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Call to battle for the black metal unfaithful. - 95%

AnakwanarSek, February 8th, 2007

Much of Watain's blueprint comes from "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", No doubt about it. Sliding buzzsaw deep bass that moves in and out of the howling overdriven guitar. Blast beat drums that aren't overpowering, accentuating the power of the song, with rhythm drop outs of riffing guitar, creating moody blackness. It's not mere imitation though, as they expound on the early (and only) Mayhem sound adding their own subtle textures and vitality. That's the cornerstone anyway, as Watain seems to be striking out in new directions with heavier guitars and thrash like chord assaults.

The big departure in sound production from "Cacus Luciferi" is the stronger and thicker guitar sound. It's heavier with more texture, moving away from the high shallow pitch of most black metal guitar. Also, the vocals can be fairly easily understood, which is true at times on older relases, but now it's much easier to hear the lyrics. My only real complaint is that the bass guitar seems to be slightly sacrificed for the stronger guitar sounds.

All the songs in general seem to be more open, benefiting from the much more expansive production value. Not that the music is weaker for it.

"Underneath the Cenotaph" is a bomb blast of direct destruction, set to pummel you under a landslide of drums, Killer rifting, and dark guitar leads

"The Light that Burns the Sun" is a shifting headbanger with some lovely guitar arrangements and killer breakdowns.

"Storm of the Antichrist" has an almost Marduk power approach, though it has plenty of extra dimensions to explore. I really enjoy the almost thrashy final minute which had me thinking of "Rust in Peace" Megadeth? Yes, indeed.

The first track really has the Euronymous Mayhem sound of some of their older songs. "Legions of the Black Light" has some wonderful sliding bass lines and creepy riffs, not to mention a really simple but effective solo.

If you're looking for something that harkens back to the early glory days of pure black metal, yet is willing to take some bold steps forward that most of the early bands never did, Watain is for you. It's truely one of the albums keeping the genre's head above icy water, and gives all fans of metal something to be excited about.