» Watain 2013 08 24  
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Reviewed by Tengan
Special guests: In Solitude, Degial
City: Uppsala, Sweden
Venue: Svandammshallarna
Date: 24 August 2013
Watain set length: 1 hour 50 minutes
In Solitude set length: 45 minutes
Degial set length: 30 minutes


Degial have truly found their niche in the field of old-school death metal with their take on Morbid Angel's first four full-lengths. Their sole album 'Death's Striking Wings' has its merits and should be a mandatory listen for any fans of death metal.

On stage the band strives to combine their music with an enigmatic appearance. From the very first second the stage is filled with smoke and the band members rarely move throughout the set. This approach would probably work quite well in a smaller more intimate venue in front of a crowd of mainly their own fans. In a larger venue such as Svandammshallarna as the first opening act of the evening they are not as fortunate. They have a hard time getting the audience on their side and the sense of enigma becomes more a distancing factor than an elevation of their music.

That's a shame since they perform rather well despite an initially poor sound where the instruments and vocals are not ideally mixed. What is especially impressive is the recreation of the special drum sound from 'Death's Striking Wings' in a live setting.

Degial puts on a decent gig as the opening act of the evening but their stage approach might perhaps have spoiled the chance of deliver too many new fans.

Performance: 6 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 5 chalices of 10
: Serpent's Tide
: The stage approach

(sorry, no setlist)

In Solitude

The second of tonight's three local bands, In Solitude is by far the less extreme one. Treating us with 80's heavy metal with apparent Iron Maiden and Merciful Fate influences, In Solitude has received their fair share of attention.

They are the band of the evening yours truly is the least familiar too and I won't be likely to make further acquaintances based on this night's performance. They have an amiable stage presence, go out of their way to get the audience on their side and rightfully succeed in a better fashion than the previous act. The problem on my part is the nature of their stage presence. In all aspects their music has the form of 80's heavy metal but their approach is that of a slightly stoned 70's heavy metal act.

With the exception of front man Pelle "Hornper" Åhman who is not slightly stoned, but seems to be absolutely wasted on acid falling down on the stage and assuming his singing from a horizontal position, touching himself as a tweaker and going on about the band falling through a window. His vocals is either extremely weak this evening or way too far down in the mix or a combination thereof. Given the talk afterwards this gig seems to have generated somewhat of a 'love or hate'-phenomenon. I will have to join in on the latter side ultimately categorizing this gig as freak-show fascinating rather than sonically brilliant.

Performance: 4 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 6 chalices of 10
: The sound
: Pretty much everything else

(sorry, no setlist)


After years of conquering worldwide one of the world's most popular black metal bands are back in their home town for the premiere gig of their latest effort 'The Wild Hunt'. Quite early on proclaiming the entering of a new era in the bands history we are treated with a mixed set spanning through their entire career with a slight focus on their last three and, dare I say, most widely acclaimed albums. The set is well-composed with personal favourites as 'Legions of the Black Light', 'Devil's Blood' and 'Wolves Curse'. Watain puts a firm grip on the audience from the very start climaxing with frenzy during 'Malfeitor' but never really cooling off.

The talk before the gig was quite centred on which tracks from 'The Wild Hunt' the band would perform this evening. In hindsight they made a fairly safe choice playing the first four songs thus sticking to a sound well in par with their earlier efforts. Songs like 'They Rode On' and 'The Wild Hunt' has taken Watain on a new musical route but still fits amiably well on the album. It would have been interesting to see how they hold up in a live setting but those thoughts remain to be answered.

Anyone who has ever attended a Watain gig could testify on the emphasis the band put in their stage show. Last time I saw the band during the fall of 2010 in Stockholm the first fifteen minutes of the gig was plagued by nausea induced by the putrefied animals put on stage. In their new era the biological decay used in Watain's live show is limited to the blood poured over the members prior to and during the gig. Instead they have focused more on an impressive stage decor and using light to conjure moods specific to some of the songs played. Pyrotechnics is also used with great success due to perfect timing and sparse amount of use.

On the downside the sound is far from perfect and the band far from tight this evening. The guitars are sometimes annoyingly badly synchronised. Yet the band delivers a good show with their usual impressive authority. Danielsson is one of the most natural front men in metal and the rest of the band commands the audience equally well without really having to pull off any of the text book tricks. Despite leaving the stage for a few breaks throughout the gig the band leave their presence on stage and never let the audience slip out of their grip.

This night Watain firmly proclaims they have been around for quite some time and that they are here to stay. Despite not being the top Watain gig yours truly have witnessed it still makes for an impressive experience.

Performance: 8 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 6 chalices of 10
: Malfeitor
: Not playing Satan's Hunger

Night Vision
De Profundis
Storm of the Antichrist
Rabid Death's Curse
Puzzles ov Flesh
Reaping Death
All That May Bleed
Devil's Blood
Wolves Curse
Sworn to the Dark
Legions of the Black Light
Black Flames March
On Horns Impaled
Serpent's Chalice

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