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WATAIN Die In Fire - Live In Hell (Agony And Ecstasy Over Stockholm)

By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Monday, April 1, 2024 @ 10:30 AM


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WATAIN
Die In Fire - Live In Hell (Agony And Ecstasy Over Stockholm)

Nuclear Blast Records




As part of my retro-review series, where I review Album or EP releases from last year or years prior that might have slipped through your cracks and under the radar - herein I spotlight one of the best and TRUE Black Metal bands still in existence. Hailing from Sweden, the Scandinavian land that brought us many other greats like DARK FUNERAL, MARDUK, BATHORY and my absolute favorite and greatest of all time, DISSECTION - behold another great name in that of WATAIN. Last year they celebrated 25 years and as part of such, in November of 2022 they released the live Album Die In Fire - Live In Hell (Agony And Ecstasy Over Stockholm), their performance from the fall of 2022 in their homeland of Sweden. This monumental show that was in support of their aforementioned release from 2022, The Agony & Ecstasy of..., captures their 2+ decades worth of madness and mayhem in just over an hour's worth with 12 songs of blasphemous brutality, spanning their illustrious catalog. Playing cuts from Casus Luciferi, Lawless Darkness, The Wild Hunt, Trident Wolf Eclipse and of course the band's latest offering.

The band whose deep dark roots formed in 1998 is Black Metal In its true essence. Their live shows are ripe with real blood and shrouded in fire, covering the audience who is engulfed from the start. A live show so intense, it's been said to induce vomiting (nice!). While unfortunately there is no full length DVD/Video of the concert (you can actually find a couple of good ones like the HELLFEST from 2022 and a short one from BRUTAL ASSAULT last year), we were however gifted a couple of videos from this concert. One being "Before The Cataclysm" and "Ecstasies In Night Infinite", both tracks from their recent release, again for which this tour was in support of.

My favorite moments of this live assault of the senses that sent a cold chill up my spine was after "Black Flames March" and before he introduced "Reaping Death" (a cut from 2010's Lawless Darkness, considered their best release). The clarity is intense, especially when you hear them rip through "The Howling" and "Devil's Blood", "Nuclear Alchemy" and their cover of the BATHORY claSIC(K) "The Return Of Darkness And Evil", a cut from the tribute album dedicated to the Blackened Trash Metal godfathers and their live tribute album Tonight We Raise Our Cups and Toast in Angels Blood (2015). Then hearing the fans in attendance shout "HEY! HEY" HEY!" in that middle part of "Malfeitor" makes you feel like you were right there chanting along with the crowd.

WATAIN's sound is captured so well on record and helping maintain consistency in this live piece, that was recorded by Jamie Elton, was that it was mastered at Necromorbus Studio by Tore Stjerna (of FUNERAL MIST) who also served as live-bassist with WATAIN for a time, and if you know or heard WATAIN live, you know how intense the bass sound can be. Vocalist and founder Danilesson is a real smart and aware man. Not only wise but a great artist as well as he has contributed the Art for this live release as well as prior releases. In addition, he has done art for many, and I mean MANY other great bands. DISSECTION, ENTOMBED, SHINING, NIFELHEIM - and countless others. He is outspoken about his gratitude towards the WATAIN "disciples" reminding fans how important "sharpening our minds and sharpening our senses" is (HELLFEST 2022).

WATAIN is truly 'Sworn to the Black' as their charred track-record would demonstrate. While consistent in their sound, they aren't afraid of producing songs like "They Rode On" (The Wild Hunt, 2013). Aside from some minor "experimentation" in their sound here and there, they never swayed too far off their chosen path. When you look at bands like DARKTHRONE who did the same, Black Metal is all about breaking boundaries with a "F*CK THE WORLD" attitude. An attitude I highly admire, adapt, and live by.

The Term "fire" is sadly over-used in today's ill-influenced society, just as simple minds fear "hell", "Hell is other people" (Anonymous). In this context, WATAIN IS FIRE. As this only begins to describe the awakening darkness that is. Die in Fire - Live in Hell is a symbol of gratitude for their Legion worldwide who've embraced this idea. It is a very personal release dedicated to all those who have joined WATAIN on their path of lawless black metal darkness during the past 25 years. Excellent capture of a momentous show of one of the leading Black Metal bands in the world. Hail WATAIN.

5.0 Out Of 5.0


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