GIG REVIEW: Watain & Degail Live At Tilburg, NL
Watain are releasing their latest record, ‘Trident.Wolf.Eclipse’, and have decided to raze the European continent to celebrate the release. Always a most excellent live band MetalWani decide to send me and see this wild horde of Swedish black metallers devout to the deepest dark perform their ritual in Tilburg.
Opening are Degail, a death metal band from the same town, Uppsala, as Watain themselves hail from. Opening with a death metal band may seem strange to black metal purists, but Swedish black metal has some pretty strong death metal influences, and Degail bring us a straightforward pummeling old school style death metal that’s still quite close to the mutual thrash and punk roots both Death and Black metal share. The band play their chosen style very well, and are even enjoyable for me, even though I’m the first to admit I don’t really like death metal. After a few songs they become a little repetitive though and I get a strong been there done that vibe. For those who enjoy this sort of simple, straight forward, violent old school death metal style though, I’m sure they’re a real treat.
The venue is sold out to capacity, and when Watain start, it’s quite a squeeze to get everyone in, to complaints of the punters. Once the band walk on stage in a fire led procession all is forgotten though. Watain are in tip top form, mixing both old and new songs through their set. They thrash through it all at a ferocious pace, but leave room to revere the fire, smoke and blood the band are known for. Sound in the venue is impeccable, especially up at the balcony, about the only place where there’s some room left over. The deep, mysterious almost primal darkness the band always manages to invoke is impressive, though a little less oppressive than when I saw the band play Casus Luciferi as a whole at Eindhoven Metal Meeting in 2016.
Having returned to their soul rending, bone crushing, chaotic black metal roots on their latest release, the band smash the crowd triumphantly, proving all the naysayers after The Wild Hunt dead wrong. This is a black metal band you believe, the devil worship, the rituals and the craziness all feel and look completely real, and these guys aren’t joking with that shit either. After dedicating the song “The Devil’s Blood” to their fallen friend, and once live guitarist, Selim Lemouchi (of the legendary similarly named band, the devil’s blood) Erik Danielsson proceeds to anoint the crowd with two cups of blood, many of whom in the first rows, make an extra effort to get some on them.
Watain have still got it, and are still one of the more intense and believable bands in the genre, especially when you see them live in a dark club, and smell the blood and fire.