Watain – The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (Review)

Watain - The Agony & Ecstasy of WatainThis is the seventh album from Swedish black metallers Watain.

This is the follow up to 2018’s Trident Wolf Abyss and contains 50 minutes of new material. The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain is raw and unforgiving, but not without character or atmosphere. The songs have the feel of those on classic second wave-era albums, and should definitely appeal to fans of the band’s earlier work.

The album blasts with cold winds of fury, driven by razor sharp riffs and merciless drums. Watain’s feral heart is tempered by grim atmosphere and fiery melodic colours. The songs make good use of the band’s knowledge of dynamic aggression, and the music combines this with dark melodies and macabre atmospherics very well.

A range of paces and moods appear across the album, all of them evil. The fast parts are serrated and lethal, the mid-paced grooves are filled with blackened malice, and the slower sections are ripe with malevolent atmosphere. Because of this The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain is very well-rounded and feels complete; here you’ll find a range of blackened disciplines mastered, from blasting chaos, (opener Ecstasies in Night Infinite is a great example of this), to slow-burning mysterious atmosphere, (We Remain, with its guest clean vocals from Farida Lemouchi), and much in between. This diversity of approaches means each song has its own distinct identity. Watain’s presence and character is unmistakable, and each track is well-crafted by people who intimately know the dark arts. The songs combine a strong appreciation for songcraft with a knowledge and love of black metal that’s both intense and atmospheric.

On The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain the band sound potent and powerful. The album is very strong, and features the sort of songs that keep the listener coming back for more. If you’re fan of black metal then it is easy to recommend this to you.

Don’t miss out on the dark majesty of Watain’s latest.

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