ALBUM REVIEW: The Agony and Ecstasy of Watain – Watain

At the end of the last decade, WAIT were touted for the superstar. It had taken the Swedes a bit of time to break away from underground black metal – 15 years, to be precise – but their 2013 album The Wild Hunt was revered around the world, hit number 1 in their home country, and when their infamous live shows involving animal blood and provocative imagery started gaining traction, the world suddenly turned. to the runners for a whole new wave of extreme metal. 2018 Trident Wolf Eclipse continued this trajectory and then, of course, the whole planet stopped, with WAIT disappear from view of almost everyone. How wonderful, then, to have their seventh album Watain’s agony and ecstasy set to release on Friday, April 29, their debut on a new label Nuclear explosion.

On Trident Wolf Eclipse, WAIT began to deviate slightly from their more progressive black metal that was present before and streamline their sound into the more classic, aggressive style that has prevailed over the last three to four decades; indeed, unlike previous efforts, only one track – the fence Antikrists Mirakel – crossed the five-minute mark on this record. With Agony and ecstasy…it seems the band have attempted a balance between the two, with some tracks more thumping right off the bat, others taking their time to go on, and a couple-like demonic twists in before the cataclysm – being a combination of the two. It’s a bold task, and a task that smaller groups would have fallen far short of – but WAIT are not part of these groups.

Starting with the furious Ecstasies in the infinite night, a deluge of riffs and blast beats erupt from the speakers and, with it, the immediate recognition of a band that hasn’t lost a single step of momentum; attention, it was clear from the recent single The howlingwhich follows and continues this intense rhythm that black metal is famous for. Serimosa is the first which slows down the tempo and develops more in WAIT‘s progressive side, but it doesn’t disrupt the flow; on the contrary, it shows how skilled the group is. Additionally, this is the band’s first time recording live with a full line-up which, coupled with a long-time collaborator Tore Stjernaoutstanding production skills, resulted in a WAIT album that, even by its own standards, sounds darker and more devilish than anything that came before it. Sure, they’ve never been one to shy away from the occult – the group are, by their own admission, theistic Satanists – but agony and ecstasy is a cut above, a love letter to the Dark Lord that is 50 minutes long and does not disappoint.

Black metal is perhaps in the worst health of all time, and WAITThe highly anticipated return of just added to that. agony and ecstasy is a world record, a record that will stand as the cornerstone of extreme metal for years, if not decades, to come. What a really special group we have here, as if it wasn’t already obvious.

Rating: 9/10

The Agony & Ecstasy Of Watain is set for release on April 29 via Nuclear Blast Records.

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