While the hardcore black metal elitists call WATAIN sellouts, the rest of the world has anticipated the new opus for quite sometime, and Lawless Darkness delivers some ugly and beautiful black metal all at once.
“Death’s Cold Dark” continues the formula that made Sworn to the Dark so successful with the blasts, double bass, and dirty raspy vocals inspired by bands such as DISSECTION and NIFELHEIM. An obvious nod to DISSECTION’s “The Somberlain,” the dual guitars in “Malfeitor” begins eerily similar, and of course the production is top notch with the Swedish death/thrash distortion well in tact. The long-awaited single, “Reaping Death,” includes a catchy hook, but the end of the album is where the real magic is located. Just as HYPOCRISY has their love for aliens, WATAIN continues their infatuation with wolves on “Wolves Curse,” and the band dedicates the song to the legions of WATAIN fans around the world.
Unlike most bands, the title track of the album is an instrumental, which feels more of a jam session with some nice lead guitar work. Songs such as “Hymn To Qayin” and “Kiss Of Death” unleash the entire Swedish repertoire, and are heavily influenced by the first two DISSECTON masterpieces. However, WATAIN set themselves apart with “Waters Of Ain,” one of the most epic tracks any band has written in recent history. This final track starts off with a beautiful acoustic beginning - the music paints a picture of a watery grave to the other side, and the song serves as a deathly tribute to fallen comrades. The band’s amazing songwriting is in full effect and captures a powerful and memorable ending with a perfect riff and heavy metal solo to conclude the new album.
The album clocks in at well over an hour, so there is plenty of music to appreciate and digest. While Lawless Darkness is nowhere near the brilliance of Casus Luciferi, the hype and praise that WATAIN is receiving is justified. WATAIN can be seen as the path in which DISSECTION should have continued in, instead of going in the direction of the controversial Reinkaos album. Along with NECROPHOBIC, WATAIN leads the pack in the blackened death metal genre. (Season of Mist)