The Vancouver stop on Watain's North American campaign of new album, Wolf Trident Eclipse, was a fittingly hellish display. Taking place at Vancouver's premier metal venue, the Rickshaw Theatre, it demonstrated some of the varied regions of the black metal spectrum, providing the crowd with both quality and variety.
The night began with cold militant violence as the Canadian representatives for the night, Revenge, took to the stage with sirens foreshadowing the imminent shock of total war. J. Read never fails to terrify behind a kit, anchoring the band as they warmed the crowd up for the rest of the night with favourites like "Mass Death Mass," and closed their set dedicating "Blood Of My Blood" to their fellow conspirators, Watain and Destroyer 666. The band maintained a constant energy of raw hostility, even rising above some shortcomings in the venue sound.
Where Revenge sought to oppress and obliterate, Destroyer 666 won over the crowd with both their thrashing sound and onstage charisma. Engaging with the crowd, the band made it impossible not to want to bang your head. With an already solid set, made up of the likes of "Wildfire," "Trialed by Fire" and "I Am The Wargod," Destroyer threw the crowd for a loop that sent them into a euphoric haze of heavy metal nostalgia, as the band left only after covering Motörhead's classic, "Iron Fist."
Watain stood apart with a masterful buildup of atmosphere. The stage looked like it had been just recently conquered, with great iron tridents and wolf banners dotting the stage, along with dozens of candles and the skulls of beasts. As soon as Watain appeared, the whole Rickshaw was unified in Satanic praise. The band went back and forth between inspiring adrenaline and dread with their stage presence. Frontman Erik Daniellson was magnetic in his vocal delivery and theatrical presence, and even delivered on the infamous promise of blood thrown into the crowd. Through Daniellson, Watain show the makings of a ritual than simply a musical performance. Their set was a perfect balance of songs old and new. "Nuclear Alchemy" met with "Lawless Darkness" and "The Serpent's Chalice," among others.
Despite some difficulties in sound levels during the night, each band delivered with a varied array of tracks from their own respective discographies, and each stood apart from the other, reminding us of the many shades there are to black.