Album Review – Watain / The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (2022)

One of the world’s most well-known and notorious Black Metal bands is finally unleashing upon us their infernal seventh full-length opus.

Crawled out of Satan’s cunt in 1998 and has since then ascended and grown into one of the world’s most well-known and notorious Black Metal bands, Uppsala/Stockholm, Sweden-based horde Watain returns from the underworld with their greatly anticipated seventh studio album, entitled The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain. Continuing to arouse and electrify their audience with an unmistakable, adventurous brand of Black Metal Magic processed and distilled over the course of a 25-year long history, vocalist E. Danielsson and guitarist P. Forsberg, together with session musicians H. Eriksson on the guitar, A. Lillo on bass and E. Forcas on drums, show no mercy for our souls throughout the 50 minutes of insanity found in their new album. Recorded live inside an old church on the Swedish countryside, produced by T. Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio, and displaying a sick artwork by the band’s own vocalist E. Danielsson in collaboration with Indonesian artist Oik Wasfuk, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain takes the listener one step closer to the innermost heart of a band that despite always being surrounded by rumors and controversy has always strived for the most sincere and genuine ways of expression.

The visceral riffs by P. Forsberg and H. Eriksson will cut your skin deep in the fulminating opening track Ecstasies in Night Infinite, a brutal, old school Swedish Black Metal aria for our vulgar delectation, not to mention how infernal E. Forcas sounds on drums; whereas E. Danielsson growls and gnarls like a true servant of Satan in The Howling, with his bandmates blasting more of their demolishing Black Metal. Serimosa, a word or name of power communicated out of unknown origin which tells of the electric notion of the coming of a great power, is even darker, heavier and more atmospheric, or in other words, a different but amazing side of the band led by the demonic vociferations by E. Danielsson, followed by Black Cunt, which as you can see carries a Stygian name for another round of the band’s Mephistophelian Black Metal where P. Forsberg and H. Eriksson take the lead with their sulfurous riffs and solos. And back to their most demented mode the band offers us all the blackened chant Leper’s Grace, showcasing absolutely hellish guitar lines accompanied by the blast beast by E. Forcas and the massive bass punches by A. Lillo.

The cryptic instrumental interlude Not Sun Nor Man Nor God sets the stage for Watain to kill again in Before the Cataclysm, utterly violent and obscure from the very first second, with E. Danielsson roaring nonstop with tons of anger and hatred in his damned heart, therefore living up to the legacy of classic Swedish Black Metal. Then featuring guest vocalist Farida Lemouchi (Molasses, The Devil’s Blood) and guest guitarist Gottfrid Åhman (Invidious, In Solitude) we’re treated to We Remain, and Farida will crush your corrupted, doomed heart with her enfolding vocals while the band blends the most obscure elements of Black and Doom Metal, resulting in a stunning hymn to darkness. Get ready to be pulverized by those Swedish devils in Funeral Winter, where E. Forcas is on fire behind his drums dictating the song’s pace while his bandmates extract pure evil from their sonic weapons, and before Watain crawls back into the shadows they offer our avid ears the old school Septentrion, with the band’s guitar duo slashing our minds with their wicked riffage.

You can experience the same agony and ecstasy of such important band from the global Black Metal scene by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, by streaming more of their infernal creations on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing the excellent The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain by clicking HERE or HERE. Characterized by a twisted beauty and primal ecstatic force, Watain are the wolf that keeps on hunting, fearless and free, in the dark night of man, with their new album depicting that hunt to perfection thanks to its endless heaviness, obscurity, rage and hatred, all elements that have made our beloved Black Metal so powerful and compelling through the years, while the band keeps always exploring the winding depths of both mind and spirit with a new sense of clarity and determination.

Best moments of the album: Ecstasies in Night Infinite, Serimosa, Leper’s Grace and We Remain.

Worst moments of the album: Black Cunt.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Ecstasies in Night Infinite 4:01
2. The Howling 4:05
3. Serimosa 5:26
4. Black Cunt 5:25
5. Leper’s Grace 4:09
6. Not Sun Nor Man Nor God 1:26
7. Before the Cataclysm 7:25
8. We Remain 6:15
9. Funeral Winter 4:27
10. Septentrion 6:43

Band members
E. Danielsson – vocals
P. Forsberg – guitars

Guest musicians
H. Eriksson – guitars (session)
A. Lillo – bass (session)
E. Forcas – drums (session)
Farida Lemouchi – vocals on “We Remain”
Gottfrid Åhman – lead guitar on “We Remain”

Album Review – Häxkapell / Eldhymner (2021)

Let your soul burn to the debut album by this Swedish Black Metal beast, examining, contemplating and utilizing the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life.

“The longest journey is the journey inwards…”

Founded in 2015 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oraklet in the city of Haparanda, a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden, a caustic Black Metal entity that goes by the name of Häxkapell (which means “witch chapel” or “chapel of witchery” from Swedish) is set to release its first full-length opus, titled Eldhymner (or “fire hymns”), an album which examines, contemplates and utilizes the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life. Mastered by T. Stjerna at NBS Studio, and featuring session musicians JM on drums and IPU on the violin, Eldhymner conveys sheer, unadulterated veneration for classic Swedish Black Metal of all kinds, being recommended for admirers of the extreme music blasted by bands the likes of Covenant, Naglfar, Marduk, Emperor and Dissection, among several others.

Ominous sounds permeate the air in the epic intro Kallet (“the call”), inviting us to the Stygian realm ruled by Häxkapell before they take our minds by storm with Tomhetens Lågor (“the flames of emptiness”), with JM dictating the song’s imposing pace while Oraklet roars with tons of anger in his damned heart, resulting in an old school Black Metal composition with some very welcome elements from Atmospheric Black Metal added to its core essence. And this venomous Swedish entity blasts another fulminating Black Metal tune titled Eldskapt (“created by fire”), living up to the legacy of bands like Marduk and Immortal, while Oraklet is utterly infernal with his growls and riffs accompanied by the demonic beats by JM, all spiced up by the crying violin by IPU; flowing into the phantasmagorical Askans Drottning (“the queen of ashes”), where they continue to haunt our souls with their infernal sounds. Moreover, JM is once again bestial behind his drum set, providing Oraklet all he needs to shine with his demonic screams.

Ur Malströmmens Famn (“from the embrace of the maelstrom”) is absolutely demolishing from the very first second, a lecture in Black Metal by Oraklet and his henchmen that will penetrate deep inside your skin and burn your veins and muscles mercilessly. Not only that, Oraklet’s riffage couldn’t have sounded more Black Metal than this, not to mention the song’s cryptic background voices. Then investing into a more cadenced sonority it’s time for a Melodic Black Metal tune titled Solraviner (“sun ravines”), full of breaks and variations supported by the cinematic keys by Oraklet, followed by Häxkapellet (“the witch chapel”), where once again Oraklet vociferates rabidly accompanied by the headbanging drums by JM in a lesson in contemporary Black Metal, evolving into a beyond heavy and crushing extravaganza. In other words, it’s over eight minutes of dark and caustic sounds for our total delight, until the band embraces us all with the ethereal outro Sanningen (“the truth”), where the violin by IPU will finally bring peace to our blackened hearts.

An eternal furnace of chaos breeding that which lies beyond, forever tempting the embers of life with the flames of everlasting silence, fire will always be a pivotal element in our society, representing at the same time life and death, darkness and light, and in Eldhymner the talented Oraklet was capable of transforming that scorching nature of fire into first-class Black Metal, helping to pave the band’s path to stardom in the underground community. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Häxkapell by following the project on Facebook, and more important than that, by purchasing a copy of Eldhymner from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Nordvis Produktion’s webstore in CD or LP format, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. And let the fires of Swedish Black Metal burn bright for centuries to come to the sound of amazing bands like Häxkapell.

Best moments of the album: Eldskapt, Ur Malströmmens Famn and Häxkapellet.

Worst moments of the album: Solraviner.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Kallet 2:20
2. Tomhetens Lågor 5:51
3. Eldskapt 6:50
4. Askans Drottning 4:46
5. Ur Malströmmens Famn 4:05
6. Solraviner 5:40
7. Häxkapellet 8:31
8. Sanningen 2:18

Band members
Oraklet – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest musicians
JM – drums (session)
IPU – violin (session)