Their latest album The Wild Hunt may have got a mixed reception but Watain have always been renowned for their awe-inspiring and furious live sets, hence the crowd which enters the Garage on this chilly Friday evening are buzzing with anticipation at the Black Metal inferno that awaits them inside.
The first thing that catches the eye is the Christmas decorations on the ceiling. Giant snowflakes and icicles are sparkling from above, but somewhat failing to evoke the ice-cold northern darkness appropriate for Watain. First on however are Glasgow’s Death/Black Metal hybrids Achren. Their self-proclaimed “Blood Metal” earns a few banging heads here and there and a respectable amount of applause but fails to get the crowd properly pumped.
That the audience didn’t need to get motivated any further (underlined also by the fact that Watain didn’t take a main support on this tour) becomes more than obvious as soon as the lights go down and the atmospheric intro tape begins to play. The stage props are now revealed; cow-hides covered in limbs and blood, inverted crosses and an altar center-stage loom menacingly as the band slowly assumes their positions. Front man Eric spends the first few minutes of the gig lighting the candles on the altar from which he will pick up various tools of satanic worship during the show. The atmosphere, both on stage and in the audience is flawless from the first chords onwards. Watain play a brilliant set-list, with older material like ‘The Devils Blood’ (what a genius piece of riffing!) or ‘Malfeitor’ (perfect for the live situation, with an almost catchy sing-along chorus) and the new, slower material functioning as a good juxtaposition to the blast beats.
The Swedish metal warriors live up to their reputation and deliver a great show. They send their disciples home after almost two hours and surely didn’t disappoint anyone here tonight.