May 28, 2010 | , | 4

Watain, Lawless Darkness

Watain: Lawless Darkness

Snaring the black metal world by the nape of the neck and forcing it’s head onto a blood stained alter, Watain‘s Lawless Darkness is poised to drop a well honed axe on all those who think they belong in the same league as this horde — severing the posers from the genre these guys are ready to claim as their own.

Embracing a more traditional black metal sound, the band’s fourth full-length incorporates dense melodies in addition to the album’s dark, bleak atmosphere. Through each track you’ll be greeted with raucous, unrelenting and bestial drums that echo the hoof beats of the riders of the apocalypse. The guitars wail sorrowful notes one minute and tear through the blackness to rend you limb from limb the next. Vocally, Erik Danielsson is on top of his game with a raw, scathing delivery that matches the menacing fury that accompanies each and every word he spits out.

Death’s Cold Dark
The opening track starts off slowly, fading in from the distance to build a desolate atmosphere before erupting with frenetic drums and driving guitars along with vicious vocals. The pace maintains a high tempo for a majority of the song, but does subside here and there allowing you to do your best to keep up. The thick melodies that the band is weaving amongst the chaos makes for a epic and black environment.

Melancholy guitars introduce you to “Malfeitor,” a track that is full of dense melodies, atmosphere and an overall old-school vibe. There’s a decent head banging groove somewhere in the darkness that you’ll be nodding to in no time. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. The groove and vocal patterns work real well with one another. The lead the encompasses the half way point of the song is harrowing and soulful.

Reaping Death
Man, I love the more ferocious nature of “Reaping Death.” Right form the start the band doesn’t fuck around, letting loose with thrashing guitars, manic drums and a vicious, aggressive vocal delivery. And at just over five minutes in length, it’s the shortest track on the album. Just when you think the guys have settled down a bit to let you catch your breathe, they light the hellish fires again with blasting drums and shredding guitars. The chorus is pretty damned catchy, as well. Holy hell, the lead at 4:12 is sick as hell.

Four Thrones
The guys slow it down tremendously with this next song. I think even they needed a bit of a respite after the blackened eruption of “Reaping Death.” There are still some decent eruptions of energy and rhythm shifts found within this song, but overall it’s a bit more atmospheric and less high tempo. The layered chorus is kind of fun and easy enough to shout along with.

Wolves Curse
“Wolves Curse” has a bit more atmosphere and mood at the onset that lasts about half a minute or so — complete with cheesy howling wolves. Thankfully, Watain get rid of the wolf quickly with melodic, blackened riffs and marching drums. Through the suffocating shroud of blackness weaves a pretty decent groove that’s pretty damned infectious. This is a monster of a song weighing it at just over nine minutes in length, yet it flows quite well and never stagnates.

Lawless Darkness
The album’s title track starts off with distant guitars through the desolate fog that eventually come to the forefront with a sorrowful melody. This six minute instrumental has a good deal of creative work throughout, including a short, but sweet lead about half way through. Now that I think about it, this is the only time I can recall a band utilizing the title track for instrumental purposes. It’s kind of cool.

Total Funeral
After the more methodical and soulful music that the band delivered on the last song, they step it up a notch with “Total Funeral.” With a title like that I would have expected some sort of slow paced dirge, but the band goes the complete opposite direction with an up-tempo, thundering song. The guitars throughout the song shred constantly while the drums plunder your skull with beefy fills and quick blasts. The chorus is a bit creepy, as well.

Hymn to Qayin
I’m not entirely sure who Qayin is (the Internets has multiple references, but none that seem to corroborate the other), but he/it/they now have a hymn created in their favor. This is a pretty standard black metal track when compared with the rest of the material on the album. There are some spoken lyrics and a good bit of melody in the guitars, but other than that there’s really not much else to help this one stand out amongst an album of great songs (well, maybe the memorable riffs around the half way point).

Kiss of Death
“Kiss of Death” comes in on the reverb than ends out the previous track with some snarling riffs and building drums. I’m not sure how they did it, but this song seems a bit darker than most of the others. It also has a meandering groove underneath the thick riffs and menacing vocals. The lead at the half way point is soulful albeit short lived. The end to this song is quite dramatic as it breaks down to fading reverb.

Waters of Ain
Coming in at 14:32, this is the longest song in Watain‘s catalog. It’s also a mechanism for the band to show just how much skill and musicianship they have, as “Waters of Ain” is a beautifully dark and epic track. At times, layered in chaos the song traverses various tempos and melodies smoothly with a dense overall feel that subsides momentarily for light guitar work, soaring leads before shifting back into a more frenetic delivery. The rocking lead around the 11 minute mark is impressive to say the least. All in all, this long song goes by like nothing, leaving you begging for more — or at least making you hit the play button a couple of more times.

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