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Watain

Not so long ago did Watain release their third album called 'Sworn To The Dark' via Season Of Mist. An album that through its nostalgic appeal made quite an impression. Neverheless it's an undeniable modern record. A rare combination and therefore a feeding ground for discussion. Singer Erik, one of the unholy trinity of people calling themself H, E or P is talking here…

By: Roel de Haan | Archive under black metal

Greetings! How are you doing?
Better than most of you, most likely!

Since this is your first appearance in our magazine could you inform our unaware readers about the history of Watain?
Watain has existed in flesh now for 9 cursed years, slithering like a raging serpent through the black metal scene with fire in the eyes and Death in the heart… Much can be said about our being and it's different phases, but if one is truly curious I suggest them to get our albums or attend one of our shows, which in the end are the only real reflections of what we are. Words are not enough to portray the boundless darkness and limitless malice and magic which is manifest in our work. Those who know us will understand what I mean.

On with the interview then, 'Sworn To The Dark' has been just released. Are you satisfied with the result and the reactions so far?
The result; of course! It would be to piss in ones own mouth by releasing something that one is not thoroughly satisfied with. We perform holy art and cannot degrade ourselves to the “artistic” level of an ordinary metal band. What we release MUST have the potency to alter the course of the world, anything lesser than that would never slip through our Temple's gates.
The reactions; I think it is very clear that people have been longing for this kind of album for a long time now, and this can be seen in the response as well, which has been overwhelmingly positive. The metal audience has been force-fed with streams of excrement for decades, with one or two diamonds passing by now and then, but far too often unnoticed due to insufficient promotion and distribution. This is why albums and bands like ours is needed, to smash people in the face and say: wake up, something is burning, and it is up to you to either let the fire light your path or to burn you.

Compared to 'Casus Luciferi' I think there's much improvement on 'Sworn To The Dark' musically speaking. The songs seem to be more to the point would you agree?
Of course there is much improvement! It would be abominable for a band with such strong intentions as ours to not improve and learn new ways to empower the music. We will never reach a point where we say “this is exactly how far we can take it, we can not get closer to what we want to be now”, because the essence of Watain –from which we were born and unto which we long to return- is something that is far too sinister, inhuman and lethal to be captured in music, or any form of art. It can be sung and written about, one can aim to portray it or to capture it in musical patterns, but in the end all of these things will remain symbols, and symbols are never the same thing as what they symbolise. They are mediums, gateways unto something far greater.

Furthermore the production is ten times more powerful now, how do look back on your earlier albums? And is this the sound you aimed at?
Yes the production is by all means superb, and exactly what we aimed for. I've always liked big, powerful productions in metal and the music on 'Sworn to the Dark' fits perfectly with such a sound. Just as the production on the previous albums was adapted to the music that were featured on them, and what we wanted to achieve atmosphere-wise.

Did the extensive touring with the legendary Dissection change your perspective on things? Are there any particular experiences that had a great influence on you or your music?
The art of Watain flows straight from our hearts, and is naturally under the influence of any powerful event that might have an effect on us. Touring with Dissection was indeed one of those, it is very seldom we have the privilege of working together with people that are of the same spiritual nature as ourselves. Seeing the way they worked as a band and their burning conviction to their beliefs and ideals coming to life is something that is etched in my memory forever. Something we could relate strongly to. I cannot think of many other bands we hold so high in respect as them. But rather than being influenced by bands directly I think Watain has always been more about inspiration drawn from the very essence of Black Metal itself. People might say that our music sounds like Dissection but it is rather the atmosphere and the magic of their work that has been a source of inspiration than the way they play their guitars. Things that lay beyond band-names, song-structures, riffs and production. The Magic.

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In my opinion Watain's strength is the nostalgic appeal of the music without it being too generic. How do you see Watain's musical purpose and position within black metal?
Everyone looks at art from their own perspective and while some might consider our “nostalgic sound” as the most appealing part of our work, others might find our spiritual stance or our layouts as their reason to like us. This is how it always have been and always will be, with public art. What is important however, is that Watain unlike most other of our contemporaries actually do have something to offer in ALL aspects of our work. We live and breath Watain 24 hours a day and there is a thought behind exactly everything we do. This is something quite unordinary for any band, and especially within something as unpassionate and mediocre as the current Black Metal (hah!) scene. Scratch a bit on the surface of Profanatica, Dimmu Borgir or Anaal Nathrakh and you will find nothing. Scratch a bit on ours and you will find an abyss within which thousand-tentacled dogs feast upon each other while giving birth to abortions shining with the light of a thousand suns…
People should not think that they do anything special or great when they play music that sounds like Darkthrone, put on corpse paint and spikes and talk about Satanism and other “extreme” things that they do not know anything about. They are just playing music, as sinister as The Beatles, or even less (at least they took drugs, got murdered etc), and they will be buried, forgotten and punished sooner then they can imagine. The Black Metal we want to inspire people to produce, if any, must be built upon the pillars of chaos, madness, lawlessness and boundless darkness! Fuck the world and its futile currents, and let's make art that is timeless and world-less!

I haven't heard many new quality black metal bands coming from Sweden lately. Is the scene still alive? Any bands to look out for?
Only us and Nifelheim! About new bands, I could mention Die Hard and Katalysato. Two young bands from the city in which Watain was founded; Uppsala, which also was the last big town in Europe to be Christened, of course.

You're going on a tour with Kreator, Celtic Frost and Legion Of The Damned. What are your expectations of this tour? Do you feel that Watain fits within this diverse company?
Touring with Celtic Frost has always been a dream and when they personally invited us to join the package there was not much to argue about. The tour was just finished and I can say that although we met a lot of opposition due to our “controversial nature” we managed to fulfil it in complete and utter victory! Death has once again conquered! Our live shows have always been orgies in blood and fire, because this is simply the way our music looks when it manifests physically. People are so very shocked and “taken aback” by our live performances but then what do they expect? Three blokes smiling in a jogging suit? We are not Deicide for fucks sake! True artistry has an essence that shines through everything; music, lyrics, ideals, aesthetics. Watain is a Satanic band, it is based upon sinister energy and thus our liveshows manifests accordingly. We build upon the stage a temple of panic, chaos, magic and death, showing to the audience the true, ugly face of the horrible abomination that is Black Metal! We create a whirlpool of energy and power that many people get scared or repulsed by, while others find just what they have always been looking for with a band like us.

What are the ambitions and future plans for Watain?
I wouldn't want to make your readers lay sleepless in fear at night, would I? Wait and see…

Thanks for this interview, I wish you well for the future and I hereby offer you the opportunity to express your final message for the fans!
The future of Black Metal belongs to those who can stand the storming darkness that is to come upon it. We are hear to dissolve it's infected structure and replace it's shy mediocrity and banality with wild fire, passion and a boundless love for Satan, He into whose bosom not just some, but ALL shall come to perish! To the Devil be our glory! Amen.

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