Aug 062013

(BadWolf reviews the fifth album by Sweden’s Watain, and their first on the Century Media label. It’s due for release on August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the US.)

With a series of critically-acclaimed albums under their belts, a dead-serious take on satanism, and a notoriously bloody live show, the members of Watain are the current poster children for European black metal. Deathspell Omega may be more artistic, and Alcest may make more palatable music, but neither of those bands land on the cover of Decibel magazine. Under this level of public scrutiny, many metal bands, and black metal bands in particular, stop producing excellent work. At this point, Watain is in the company of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, who, like Watain, rode into success on the backs of powerful imagery, strong melodies, and a few good records, though they ultimately fell into the rut of overproduced kitsch.

Judging by Watain’s fifth album, The Wild Hunt, however, these three Swedes won’t make the same mistakes. The Wild Hunt is a confident step outside of Watain’s comfort zone—one that dials down black metal cliches while taking more risks than they have before, and producing several excellent songs in the process. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

I suppose this is mainly a rumor, since there hasn’t yet been an official announcement, but that flyer up there sure looks official.

[UPDATE: it’s official now. The full schedule can be found at the bottom of this post.]

Two venues have so far reported dates for THE WILD HUNT NORTH AMERICAN TOUR, headlined by Sweden’s Watain and named after their forthcoming album, and featuring two more excellent Swedish bands, In Solitude and Tribulation.

As you can see, one of those two venues is in Detroit, and the second date that has surfaced is in Denver on October 18 at The Marquis Theater.

This has awesome written all over it. When we get the full schedule, we’ll post about this again. Seattle better be on there or I’ll throw a temper tantrum.

[Read on to see the full schedule.] Continue reading »

Jul 172013

Swedish black-metal horde Watain have a new album named The Wild Hunt coming on August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the US via Century Media Records. A two-track single (All That May Bleed) was released on June 21, and that was followed by the band’s official lyric video for the single’s title track (featured at NCS here). And now we’ve got another new song from the album, “The Child Must Die”.

The vocals are still soul-scraping, but much of the song may have more kinship to melodic death metal than the kind of scathing black metal you might be expecting. Yet although the song might be considered more “accessible” than Watain’s more typical output, it’s also multi-faceted, which should come as no surprise to fans of this band. It’s juiced with electricity and moments of thundering power, and it features a thrilling guitar solo. I’m quite liking it, though I’ll be curious to see what kind of reactions we’ll get in the comments.

Listen to the song next. You’ll find the lyrics below the video. Continue reading »

Jun 242013

As we previously reported, the Swedish horde known as Watain have a new album named The Wild Hunt coming on August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the US via Century Media Records. A two-track single (All That May Bleed) was released last Friday (June 21). And this morning brought us the band’s official lyric video for the single’s title track.

As should be expected from Watain by now, the song is not standard black metal fare. It’s bombastic, thrashing, slightly industrial in its rhythms, and of course completely vehement and venomous. It also includes a memorable (and eerie) guitar solo, as well as a bass solo.

The new single can be downloaded at iTunes and it’s also being offered as a 7″ black or red vinyl, and on a 7″ picture disc. These can be acquired at or from The lyric video is next. Let us know what you think. Continue reading »

Jun 132013

Herein, a selection of four items I came across yesterday that I guarantee will appeal to you. Assuming that your tastes are identical to mine. Otherwise, no guarantees. But have no fear, the bands featured here are so diverse there’s bound to be something that will turn you on.


As we previously reported, this Swedish horde have a new album named The Wild Hunt coming on August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the US via Century Media Records. A two-track single (“All That May Bleed”) will be released on June 21.

Yesterday Watain unveiled the album cover, which you can see above. It’s a painting in oil and mixed materials by the phenomenal Zbigniew M. Bielak, who created (among other things) the artwork for Watain’s last album, Lawless Darkness, as well as the cover for the single.

More info, including the track list, can be found at Watain’s official site (here). Continue reading »

Jun 042013

Unlike the usual “Scene and Heard” post, this one collects items of interest that I heard more than 24 hours ago. And the reason is that my blog time has been severely constricted since last Friday by a two-headed boa named Work and Party. The coils have been loosening a bit, so now I’m able to highlight the following new video, new teasers, and new song that I’ve been digging lately.


Andy Synn made this Belgian band’s second album Ritu (released earlier this year by Code666) the subject of one of his reviews in haiku: “Subtly symphonic / A glorious, sweeping sound / All hail the darkness”. For a three-line synopsis, that was pretty spot-on, but the record deserves more extensive praise. It really is a very fine album, multi-faceted and tremendously engrossing.

Lyrically, the songs deal with death rites in ancient cultures, as well as aspects of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. One of the songs, “Blood Libel”, takes as its subject the murder of a boy (William of Norwich) in Norwich, England, in 1144. The Jews of Norwich were falsely accused of killing him in a ritual murder (a “blood libel”). According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, similar accusations were made in other English towns over the next 40 years, leading to massacres of Jewish people in many communities, including the butchery of Norwich Jews in their homes in 1190. Continue reading »

May 152013

I came across some news today involving three bands I like.  Unfortunately, the news involves releases that we can’t yet hear, but at least the news brings album art that’s pleasing to mine eyes. And then I came across one other piece of eye-catching new artwork that introduced me to a new band and a new song that I’m pretty sure fractured my skull . . . as if I needed any more skull fractures. Here’s what I found:


As we previously reported, this Swedish black metal band have a new album named The Wild Hunt coming on August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the US via Century Media Records. Today I learned that they will first be releasing a two-song single, both digitally and in a variety of physical formats, in late June. One song will be an original album track named “All That May Bleed”, and the B-side will be a cover of “Play With the Devil”, originally recorded by the Swedish black/heavy metal band Taiwaz in 1988; Gottfrid Åhman from In Solitude has contributed a guitar solo to that cover track.

Above, you can see the just-disclosed artwork for the single, which is quite cool and was created by the amazing Zbigniew Bielak II, whose work for Ghost we featured at length here. As for the original song, here’s what Watain had to say about “All That May Bleed”:

“‘All that May Bleed’ shows but one facet of a quite diverse album, but we chose this song as a first glimpse into ‘The Wild Hunt’ because of its bombastic lunacy and white-eyed malevolence which could be said to constitute a main foundation for the album. The lyric is an invitation to sacrificial blood letting, ecstatic zealotry and human sacrifice. The salt of Satan in the wounds of Christ!”

Well then, if this is an invitation to sacrificial blood letting, ecstatic zealotry, and human sacrifice, I accept! Continue reading »

Apr 302013

The Wild Hunt is coming.

We learned in January that Sweden’s Watain had begun recording a new album, the follow-up to 2010’s Lawless Darkness. Today the band announced that the album is finished and will be released on August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the US via Century Media Records. The title is The Wild Hunt. I don’t have anything else to say, except to note that I’m excited about the news. So, here’s the posting that appeared on Watain’s Facebook page about an hour ago:

After 120 nights of iron will and ardent magic, the fifth fullength album of Watain is now complete. With broken bones and burning hearts we have ploughed our way through deepest winter into a new wilderness, to which we will open the gates at summers end. THE WILD HUNT will be released on August 19th in Europe and August 20th in USA. Beware!

Might as well use this as an excuse to post some Watain music, so have at it following the jump . . . Continue reading »

Aug 282012

(Our NCS comrade Andy Synn has recently been making me green with envy by attending summer metal festivals on the other side of the Atlantic, which for me might as well be on the other side of the solar system.  However, gentleman and scholar that he is, he didn’t just go and have a ridiculously good time. He also sent back this review of his jaunt to the UK’s BLOODSTOCK festival on August 10-12, 2012. We’re dividing it into two parts, with Part 2 coming up tomorrow [now posted here].)

Ah, Bloodstock. Always an interesting festival, caught between its early power/trad-metal roots and its steady expansion into a more rounded, extreme/non-mainstream metal festival. This year’s line-up was pretty enticing, but circumstances and finances looked set to prevent my attendance. But fate and serendipity stepped in (thank you Sahil!) and on Friday 10th of August I found myself once more pulling into the festival’s parking lot, with a song in my heart and a shiny guest wristband on my arm.



Carefully timing my arrival to coincide with that of Moonsorrow, I wasn’t disappointed, the band utterly on fire, despite the occasionally washed out sound. It helps that the set-list comprised some of my favourite Moonsorrow tracks, I’ll admit that, but the performance itself was brilliant either way. The only downside is that, due to the length of their material, it always seems like too few songs

Sepultura put on a damn good show, their new drummer certainly doing his best to live up to Igor Cavalera’s enviable legacy, while the triptych of Derrick, Paulo, and Andreas showed again and again why they stuck with the name – they just do it all better. The new material sounded great live, while the quartet give the old stuff, including a brace of Beneath The Remains-era material, new life and vigour. Props as well for the welcome, but unexpected, guest slot from Tim “Ripper” Owens on “Territory”.

Dio Disciples were, in many ways, something of a curiosity for the festival. Essentially Dio’s band with a different singer (and a few guests), it’s hard to judge them on merit alone, as their appearance was due to far more than just an ability to play the songs well. This was a tribute to one of the genre’s legendary figures, and while it would be churlish to say it was simply a well-received cover set (the downright dedication to this band’s slot bordered on the fanatical), one can’t help but be moved by this show of respect, and by being reminded of the sheer quality of the material on display. Continue reading »

Jan 222012

I’ve been catching up on metal news today and came across news of three upcoming U.S. tours that are . . . newsworthy, to say the least.

I’m guessing this first one will be old news to many of you, since it surfaced on Friday, but it has sure produced some tumescence in your humble editor’s loins today. BehemothWatainThe Devil’s Blood, and In Solitude will be hitting the road for The Decibel Magazine Tour, a 26-date trail of wreckage across the U.S. starting in April. It will be the first Behemoth tour for Nergal since being diagnosed with and beating leukemia. That’s a cool tour flyer by Justin Bartlett up there, too.

More details, including tour dates, venues and ticket info, will be announced at on January 24th.

But that’s just for starters. Mastodon’s Troy Sanders recently confirmed that his band plus Opeth and Ghost will be embarking on a North American tour of their own. During a recent interview at a Belgian radio station, Sanders stated: “We go to Australia to take part in the Soundwave Festival, which is going to be lovely, take a short break. Do a North American tour with Opeth and Ghost. And then take another break and come back over here for the European festival season.”

I have a feeling a few people will buy tickets for that tour. No further details are available at this time. (found this news via Loudwire)

And that’s not all. Would you believe a 30-date tour of the U.S. this summer by Agalloch?!? Continue reading »