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...with raging bloodlust - 100%

Hefeystossotsyefeh, May 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Cassette, Stygian Shadows Productions (Limited edition)

Promoting their lethal full length Casus Luciferi back at its time of release in 2003 on tour, Watain were fortunate to have this gem of a soundboard recording archived and subsequently released over a decade later and at a time when many fans of the band were eager to indulge in earlier more necromantic material.

What is immediately striking is how effective and competent the instrumentation is, which is evident courtesy of the perpetual clarity of the recording. At the time that this tour was undertaken, Watain was in its relative infancy having released only two full lengths; further, the guys were young and it is apparent that in the time since they have honed their musical ability to produce sensational and beautiful music (e.g. Waters of Ain). This being said, the material presented at this performance is clearly well-rehearsed and brimming with primal energy - this is most observable for the Rabid Death's Curse material, which is much more dynamic than on the record that is in comparison somewhat flat (albeit gripping). The Casus Luciferi material also holds a more feral stance that is lacking on the nonetheless monumental and quite polished record.

Erik, at and on this stage in Bucharest, rasped and spat forth diabolical vocals from the opening Devil's Blood, which are preferable to the more articulate album variants and drive the performance home with total conviction. The bass guitar serves as a thick and devious audible undercurrent dragged forward by the energetic drumming that contrasts gloriously with the guitars. Summarily, the musical aesthetic is completely on-point and overflowing with life essence we have come to expect of Watain; it's certainly not outlandish to think that - upon the closing of one's eyes - the listener is dropped in to the venue in Bucharest 2003 and experiencing this live. Absolutely, those witnessing this were very fortunate to see a band possessed with raging bloodlust. This was absiolutely a live experience not so routinely achieved in general.

So you want to kill each other even more? And you will!

Of notable treat (as if this live recording itself was not enough) is the inclusion of a Malign cover. Opting to cover Fireborn, this cover - placed close to the end of the live opus yet prior to two closing rituals - introduces a thrashy element to the otherwise broadly orthodox approach of Watain at this point in time. The soundboard recording curiously makes the track more thrashy than it is on record, which may be due to the prominent bass and drumming at the cost of the guitars. This is not to say that it detracts from the quality of the recording, because it doesn't; it's simply a pertinent change in dynamic, which is quickly reverted with On Horns Impaled.

This is a thoroughly essential live recording of early Watain and should be eagerly sought out by those who enjoy their first two albums.

We are Watain - from Hell - and now it's time to die!