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Watain – Opus Diaboli DVD/CD/LP (2012) - 90%

Asag_Asakku, May 29th, 2012

Few bands can better meet the collectors’ need than the Swedes of Watain. Already in 2010, they launched a limited edition of their album Lawless Darkness, offered in a beautiful wooden book – with an engraved leather cover – and many extras (flags, candles, medallions, tarot card). Well, these Scandinavians recur, this time for the release of their first DVD called Opus Diaboli (2012). Stressing the thirteen year history of the group, it offers a performance given by Watain in Stockholm to celebrate the event. But there is more…

Available in a thousand copies, the special edition DVD has an impressive number of bonuses of all kinds. The box (whose dimensions recall the best of vinyl years) itself is magnificent, featuring on its cover the wolf and the trident – symbols of the band – surrounded by flames on a black background. Opening this object is almost a ceremony in itself. It includes vinyl (2) and CD (2) versions of the Stockholm concert, with an astounding recording quality. I do not have the necessary equipment to enjoy the vinyl, but I promise myself to fix this. In addition to the DVD itself (unfortunately only available in PAL with the box), we find postcards announcing the release of the album, a numerated authentication form signed by the group (damn! I have number 667) and a large book of photographs and drawings that traces the band’s history from its beginnings to its most recent tours.

The DVD is a surprise. Rather than just presenting the show, Watain invites us to an Odyssey to the edges of their world. The songs are interspersed with many passages of occult spoken words, and selected pieces of an interview with Erik Danielsson, singer and black soul of the band. He tells many interesting things about the group, its symbols, its objectives and its philosophy. The concert extracts are amazing for themselves. Literally surrounded by flames, devoured by the ubiquity of the red color, the group delivers their unique black metal to an enthusiastic, although passive, crowd. Song selection gives, of course, a larger part to Lawless Darkness, but the other albums are all represented as well. No DVD bonuses to report, but the Box Set is full of them already.

Audio recording is also very successful. The sound reaches an impressive level of power, so hard that it sometimes masks the solos! More traditional in their unfolding, the CDs offer us the show without interruption, with a few surprises, including the interpretation of A Fine Day To Die, the great Bathory classic (although I would have expected a cover of Dissection). This hour and some spent with Watain reminds us how this band excels on stage.

More than just an audio/video captured show, these LP / CD / DVD allow us to closely approach a major contemporary black metal band at the pinnacle of its career, which manages to offer collectibles of high quality, without selling its soul with it. 9/10

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