Watain Sworn to the Dark

Watain Sworn to the Dark
While Sweden has become known for its listener-friendly death metal melodies, many of its bands have made important contributions to a style generally attributed to its eastern neighbour. Having emerged from a scene savouring mid-tempo harmonies and clearly structured songs, black metalers like Dissection, Dark Funeral and Naglfar incorporated these ear-pleasing conventions into a caustic and unique plague, fashioning their own brand of bleak, battering melodies. With Sworn to the Dark, their first album in four years, Watain have finally proven themselves worthy of their predecessors. Though showing signs of promise early on, the difference this time around is the sound quality. Balanced perfectly as a vitriolic but not mushy mix, their nefarious tremolo onslaught invokes Somberlain–era songwriting, adding a more modern feel with an affinity for finding catchy, yet threatening, grooves. Their ability to channel the true spirit of the genre without sounding ridiculous or insulting its legacy is what separates them from the legions of hacks that can only dream of crafting something this captivating. (Ajna Offensive)