As part of their Eastern Eclipse Tour, Swedish Watain visited Nosturi on April 19th, 2019, along with Obnoxious Youth, presented by Steelfest. As such, we dove in once again to hear some some black metal tunes.

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You can hear Watain’s set as a playlist on Spotify here:

During last year’s Steelfest I managed to miss Watain, due to an incident involving spilled beer and an unplanned table, so I had to rope another of our reporter to do my writing for me. This particular gap in my civilization levels had to be corrected, so I set out to Nosturi with a couple of friends and see what all the hubbub was about.

Obnoxious Youth came out with no ceremony and after a short intro was played, started up their brand of music. Refreshingly simple with no extra bells or whistles, their sound nonetheless was suffering from unclear mixing and muddy sound. It’s not that unusual for such a small-caliber band, but it still decreased the overall enjoyment. The switching between songs was done at an extremely rapid pace, which befits their genre.

The worst part of their set was the cramped quarters, which ate away at the energy of their show. The drummer, along with his (smaller?) kit, took up around a third of the space, though that is hardly their fault. The lads still tried their best to have an energetic and entertaining show, which was moderately successful, especially later in their timeslot when the songs were clearer and catchier, playing music that deserves the title of speed metal. Still, there seemed to be an air of anxiousness around the singer that lasted throughout the entirety of their set.

The best part about these guys, however, were the free hands they had when creating their music, since there didn’t appear to be any meddling audible, even if most of it was buried under the high tempo and unrelenting crunch. The cruelest part in all this had to be their playing area, which was so small it was akin to having a tiger in a cat carrier; it would’ve been so much better if you could let the bastards loose.

The stage thus set, Watain came out with torches, lighting a fire on top of the Saint Peter’s crosses that these upstanding Christian fellows had brought along with them to celebrate Easter. What’s that you say? They’re supposed to be anti-Christian? How bold, such a fresh breeze of non-conforming thought. Never would I have thought I’d find something this controversial in a black metal gig.

All snarking aside, their sound and mixing were both much more crisp than OY had just half an hour earlier, along with their stage presence and showmanship, owing to the fact that they had some elbow room. Not at all surprising for such a big-name performer with their own sound crew, so everything was pretty much as it should be. There honestly isn’t even that much to talk about, since this is a band which has played for two decades, have tons of experience on stage, and are proficient in hyping up their own crowd. It was just orthodox BM through-and-through, which is just fine if you’re into that sort of thing.

The lights were well-rehearsed and the tasteful smoke was used to great effect during their set. The high tempo and aggressive shredding was well-mixed and played, never going over to the muddy, incomprehensible territory. Predictability was pretty high though, since this is the way the band sells itself. There came the bits with the celebration of Jesus’s death, then came the bits with spraying of blood. It was all done by the numbers, which is a shame. All-in-all, Watain was a treat for those who enjoy this particular brand of straightforward attitude.

 

Far from me being some sort of moral guardian to protect the poor hurt feelings of people that’d never attend a gig like this, I just found Watain to be a bit too predictable and scoring cheap points on an opponent that has long since been defeated. The music and ambiance were both good, maybe even great, but the gig itself left me extremely cold, so I can say two things with certainty: (1) I’m really not the target audience for this, and (2) I might have caught a cold.

Setlist:
1. Storm of the Antichrist
2. Nuclear Alchemy
3. The Child Must Die
4. Puzzles ov Flesh
5. Angelrape
6. Furor Diabolicus
7. Sacred Damnation
8. Underneath the Cenotaph
9. Malfeitor
10. Towards the Sanctuary
11. Stellarvore
12. The Return of Darkness and Evil (Bathory cover)
13. The Serpent’s Chalice

Photos: Marco Manzi

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