Watain
Sworn to The Dark


3.0
good

Review

by Nate B. USER (13 Reviews)
August 21st, 2009 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist


Black metal is dead. Let’s face it: there are very few bands making names for themselves by bringing new ideas to the table and shaping the genre at large with them. Traditionalists complain about the lack of quality output, yet criticize innovation and originality while contributing nothing themselves. On the flipside, the more ‘open-minded’ crowd will accept any random jazz/post-rock/whatever-influenced crap that comes their way, flooding the genre with pointlessness. Both sides of this coin are proving detrimental to black metal going anywhere relevant in the near future.

There’s no question about this one: Watain certainly fits in with the traditionalist side of the modern black metal scene. Their music is sort of a mix between Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its intensity and occasional insistence to remain at one tempo, and Dissection’s The Somberlain in its folky melodies and occasional stadium rock elements. They have the whole form down – frequent blasting sections, minor scale dirges, trudging power chord chromaticisms, and lyrics about the occult sung in a rasp. It seems Watain isn’t missing anything from what makes a traditional black metal album what it is… or are they?

Where Sworn to the Dark fails is in its inability to really capture the true spirit of black metal. Do you remember the first time you heard Transilvanian Hunger and were overcome by its melancholy, nostalgia, nihilism, and rage? Do you remember hearing In the Nightside Eclipse for the first time and being swept away into a fantasy world by its majestic keyboard lines and epic guitar melodies? You don’t get any of that on Sworn to the Dark. What we’re left with here is an overall non-innovative, pristinely produced blackened metal album chuck full of massive choruses and hooks that at the end of the day does little to capture your imagination or cause you to feel much of anything.

In spite of this, Watain still manages to pull out some killer tracks on Sworn to the Dark. The title track is by far the best song on the album, with its intense & creative guitar lines and varied drumming. The ballad-ish “The Serpent’s Chalice” manages to be intense and melancholic at the same time, and is one of the only songs here that truly builds on itself as it goes on instead of cycling around pointlessly. The interlude tracks “Whithershins” and the probably unintentional Deicide tribute “Dead but Dreaming” are very cool as well, providing much-needed breaks while still being interesting little tidbits showing a different side to Watain.

When all is said and done though, Sworn to the Dark is what it is: an imitation. It may be a well-executed, heartfelt imitation, but an imitation it remains nonetheless. Take it for what it is and you’ll find some moderate enjoyment in its sheer intensity and headbangability, but don’t expect much more from it.



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user ratings (138)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
MoosechriS (4.5)
Music, Faith & Magic combine with wide eyed conviction to produce a truly blackened masterpiece....


Comments:Add a Comment 
plutosatanclubhouse
August 21st 2009


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

got this the other day and saw it didn't have a review here, figured i'd give my 2 cents on it

fireaboveicebelow
August 21st 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finally, this album is good fun

Hawks
August 21st 2009


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this album is great.

plutosatanclubhouse
August 21st 2009


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

meh, it's not bad but to me it seems that it's on the same boat as 1349 and newer Gorgoroth: modern black metal that misses the point

Eakflanderyof
August 21st 2009


2143 Comments


Gorgoroth sucks for the most part, but I feel 1349 are one of the few modern black metal bands doing black metal right. Well, except for the newest album which just wasn't a black metal album.

plutosatanclubhouse
August 21st 2009


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love old Gorgoroth but after Under the Sign of Hell they went to total shit. I have high hopes for their new material because Infernus handled all the writing though.

fireaboveicebelow
August 21st 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so are you planning on adding a track list

plutosatanclubhouse
August 21st 2009


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

done, thanks for reminding me =]

BillEco
August 22nd 2009


67 Comments


Nice review.

I dont know if BM is dead however. There are thousands of bands playing it so there are bound to be a few who make something good

Dethtrasher
August 22nd 2009


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review.
Legions Of The Black Light is solid but the rest is kinda meh.

Wizard
January 31st 2010


19644 Comments


I love old Gorgoroth but after Under the Sign of Hell they went to total shit. I have high hopes for their new material because Infernus handled all the writing though.

And look where that all went....to total shit! Good review, going to give this a listen later.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Hawks
November 28th 2010


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album slays. Don't understand why some people hate this band.

Adabelle
December 12th 2011


4260 Comments


Worth a random download? Came up on my lastfm..

Hawks
December 12th 2011


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Most people hate this band with a passion, but it's really up to you. This is the only thing I've heard from them and I think it's good.

Wizard
December 12th 2011


19644 Comments


This is watered down bm, nothing more. You've been warned.

Hawks
December 12th 2011


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is watered down bm, nothing more.

Yep pretty much haha.

Wizard
December 12th 2011


19644 Comments


I oughta put a Christmas hat on my avatar too.

Hawks
December 12th 2011


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah dude you gotta get on that.

Ignimbrite
December 12th 2011


5505 Comments


haha lol fuck this band

megadeth16
March 17th 2013


50 Comments


great album, great band.



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