Review Summary: Winding, twisting and progressing, Watain have found their masterstroke in remembering their careers.
Over the years black metal has taken many forms, but for what they are most releases can be undeniably called black metal. From the smooth sounds of Alcest or even to the rawer sounds of Black Anvil the energy put into songs and technicality placed behind the lyricism all gives life to this sinister, dark and aggressive type of metal. Enter Watain’s Opus Diaboli
and fans of the genre find a bit of everything. Aggression, up tempo passages, raspy vocals, melodic sections, whispered vocals, spoken word, themes of Satanism and war progressing into infernal stomp riff sections with themes of loss and despair and philosophy, it’s easy to say there is a lot going on here. Watain have grown since their last release Lawless Darkness
and taken the atmosphere they give listeners to a new level; this time in a live setting. What’s promising is that Watain rely on thrash-y passages that really push this record along. Watain celebrate the last thirteen years of their careers with this live recording and credit must be given to its overall sound quality of the record.
What may turn some listeners off Opus Diaboli
is its sheer length; Thirteen tracks finished off with a nineteen and a half minute epic does allow for some listeners attention to wain a little. Unfortunately this may be too much for some, especially if your average listener lacks an attention span that is required for this particular brand of black metal. However for listeners on the other end of the scale this sits well as the listener is enveloped into the album’s winding passages of black metal, screamed with intent to show off Watain’s natural progression between albums and reinforce their better attributes. These Scandinavian metal mongers highlight the best moments of their last releases and present them live to Stockholm. Opus Diaboli
shows listeners more than a live set. Released as a DVD set with many extras (signings, photos et cetera) they also pay tribute to a Bathory classic with ‘A Fine Day To Die’ and while there is a larger focus on the previous studio release Lawless Darkness
, there is a fair amount of earlier releases represented as well.
offers something for older and newer fans alike. Watain offer a live set full of energy to a passive yet appreciative crowd highlighting some of their more popular tracks (‘In Devil’s Blood’, ‘Lawless Darkness’ and ‘Reaping Death’) and maintain a consistent sound in what’s seen as a lengthy live set. Fan favourites and less known tracks all come out to play here and reinforce Waitain on the black metal scene. Where most live recordings sound like someone recorded the music in a tin can (especially in metal), Opus Diaboli
release a somewhat polished set, ensuring an enjoyable listen for those not there at the concert. Few bands will be able to appease fans with a live recording, but Watain have definitely tried to make the most of it. As far as live recordings go Watain’s Opus Diaboli
should at least be given a go.