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WATAIN - Sworn to the Dark


WATAIN have been lurking beneath the shadows of the underground for nearly a decade now, and while many overlooked the band’s impressive Casus Luciferi album about four years ago, WATAIN’s latest, Sworn to the Dark is poised to take them to the top of the Swedish black metal pack. Adamant practitioners of the black metal cult, WATAIN still manages to balance out the darkness by riding a fine line between black and death with large doses of German-influenced thrash serving as the link in the chain of aggression. At just under an hour in length, Sworn to the Dark takes the listener on a twisted, intricate musical journey that combines tense atmosphere, complex arrangements and strong dynamics, which are all held together by a sinister aura of underlying evil. The vocals are harsh and unforgiving; the drumming is punishing and pounding; the riffing taut and malevolent. Yet in spite of this, an emphasis on memorable songwriting is maintained throughout the album’s entirety. “Legions of the Dark Light,” “Storm of the Anti-Christ,” “The Serpent’s Chalice” and closer “Stellarvore” all exhibit these qualities with strong hooks and powerful choruses, creating instant black metal classics. Combining strong production, top-notch musicianship and powerful songwriting, Sworn to the Dark is a trident in to the heart of Christianity that also serves as the album that made black metal dangerous again. (Norma Evangelium Diaboli Records)