When it comes the so-called true black metal the best things are still created in the northern regions of Europe. And when we take it to the highest levels of pure black quality only a few bands remain untouched. At this very moment in the development of black metal, in high times of raw black metal where new bands pop up each minute of the day, there are just a hand full of bands that is still able to touch, impress and devastate me. High quality black metal in its purest form, so, let’s say without heavenly female vocals, keyboards or pagan influences, became somewhat of a rarity these days. Though, bands like Armagedda, Taake and this very Watain are some those few bands that are able to keep this black flame from dying.
This new opus by the Swedish masters of dark melancholy is definitely one of the highlights of this year. I’ve been waiting for this album to come for quite some time now, the band’s last (and debut) album, “Rabid Death Curse”, is already four years old by now. And with me, many people were waiting impatiently to the thing that I’m holding now. This album was supposed to be released around last November through Drakkar Productions, but somehow it got delayed, delayed and once again ? delayed. It is around February as we speak and I’m holding my copy and I know I’m one of the first. By the way, my copy is the limited vinyl version on Norma Evangelium Diaboli, the CD version came about two weeks earlier. A tape version on the Russian Orthodox Productions (which is a new name to me?).
Onto the music, still the music is heavily inspired by one of Sweden’s biggest: Dissection. But I must honestly say that I’d pick Watain out of both, when being put to the test. I think it may be best compared at a mixture between Mayhem’s “The Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” (the cold and militant feel) and Dissection’s “Storm At The Light’s Bane” (vocally and the way of weaving melodies into the music). It may also be clear, if not, it will be now, that Watain is based on pure black metal and that the death metal influences, that Dissection clearly has, are totally non-existent. And, other than that, Dissection has every now and then the tendency to slow its music down into something that’s somewhat acoustic, atmospheric? Still, I can’t say that Watain has its full-power blasts on, mostly played on mid-tempo with faster passages. That mid-paced speed only emphasizes that typical hypnotising effect, this may be recognized, this has been used many times before but almost never as breathtaking or convincing as being displayed here. The guitar sound is, together with this mid-paced tempo and repeatedly played riffs, pretty much reminiscent to Norwegian bands like the aforementioned Mayhem or perhaps Burzum, in newer terms I’m only able to come up with a band like Whermacht and Forgotten Tomb (both top-class bands in nowadays black metal scene, if you ask me).
When I have to compare this “Casus Luciferi” with its predecessor, I fail to reach the right words. I was already a fan of “Rabid Death Curse”, but this is really breathtaking and overall stunning. It is really hard to understand what a huge progression this band has made over these small four years. I don’t think I say too much when I state this as a classic release in black metal and metal in general. I’m sure that this album will be hailed for many years to come. And this album is a prophecy for a huge future for this Swedish band, Watain.