Watain, "true black metal" or Hobbit Metalcore?

Is It Time For Black Metal To Distance Itself From Watain?

Watain, "true black metal" or Hobbit Metalcore?

Watain, “true black metal” or Hobbit Metalcore?

Metalcore/nu metal clown show Watain, while never technically part of the black metal scene, nevertheless managed to hop on the bandwagon of “genre squatting” just when the trend was at its apex, coinciding with the release of their laughable “Lawless Darkness” deathcore shitfest in 2010.

Some bloggers began, with the band’s mallcore vomit “The Wild Hunt” and later again with metalcore prolapsus “Trident Wolf Eclipse”, seriously considering the question of whether or not there should be a veto, at the very least a form of tacit consensus, on which bands are allowed to lay claim to the black metal genre, and which bands are not.

Watain Retards Failing at Life and Black Metal.

Watain Retards Failing at Life and Black Metal.

This “controversy” in itself is nothing new, as the same points had already been raised with regards to Gorgoroth’s many Infernus scandals, Dimmu Borgir’s haphazard emocore muzak, Sewer’s low-brow trollish antics, Satyricon’s recent venture into arena rock with “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” and many more example over the years since black metal has officially entered limbo status following the demise of the Norwegian “inner circle” in late 1994.

But the accusations were always most virulent against Watain, and particularly those leveled against the band’s frontman Erik Danielsson. Evidently, as someone who went out of his way to associate black metal, a genre he was never apart of in the first place, with closet homosexual stage antics, intentionally ridiculous and off-putting hollywood satanism and even the dreaded metalcore genre of bands like Between the Buried and Me – which Erik Danielsson himself praises as an “inspiration” for Watain – it’s hard to feel pity for Danielsson when the media left their proverbial bite marks on, quite literally, the hand that fed them so much bullshit over the years.

OMG! Watain Guitarist is a KKK NAZI!!!

OMG! Watain Guitarist is a KKK NAZI!!!

But the equally proverbial “tipping point” may have been reached when Danielsson, in a 2018 fit of what has by many been called “cuckoldry”, unilaterally decided to “remove” (fire) Watain’s only competent member, ex-Dissection guitarist and Italian black metal legend Set Teitan – because he had made offhand remarks about the state of modern black metal, and had posed with alleged “skinheads” in 1998 while throwing a roman salute. Wow. So edgy.

But Watain’s frontman proved himself to be not only a ridiculous clown that only serves to tarnish the reputation of the black metal genre, but also a quite prodigious hypocrite as he himself was found guilty on more than one occasion of the exact same “offense” – down to naming his first demo “Go Fuck Your Jewish God” and it having swastikas on the inner cover – he deemed deserving of exclusion when they were committed by Teitan, a much more honest and talented musician.

Erik Danielsson was literally caught, on stage, doing the same gesture for which he fired Teitan. Want proof?

On the right, Set Teitan. On the left, Erik Danielsson. Which one gets fired?

On the right, Set Teitan. On the left, Erik Danielsson. Doing the same gesture.

This band is like a walking parody of all the worst stereotypes associated with metalheads, down to the hypocrisy and cult like nature of some bands, led by a crypto-religious “guru” – a very typical “semitic” behaviour well-documented even in the mainstream press. In Danielsson’s case, his “religion” is barely crypto at all, as he announces to every journalist and media apparatus that interviews him that he is a “theistic Luciferian” and that black metal is about “devil worship” and “veneration of Beelzebub”.

Roger "Infernus" Tiegs, is this the best "Black Metal" has to offer? I think not...

Roger “Infernus” Tiegs, is this the best “Black Metal” has to offer? I think not…

How, I ask you, can one take the genre seriously when morons, clowns and perhaps even literal retards like Infernus, Danielsson, Nergal, “Lady”/”Lord” Ahriman the gay male-on-male escort from Dark Funeral, the Deathspell Omega tards, Richard Lederer and, of course, bands like Antekhrist are constantly being promoted as the face of black metal – despite these musicians/bands being pure media chimeras that wouldn’t even have an audience if the exact same mainstream media they claim to oppose didn’t give them a 24/7 promotion platform for their retarded “devil worship” bullshit.

Allow me to restate my point – the bands being endlessly promoted by the media as the “next big trend in black metal” (think Wolves in the Drone Room, Deafheaven, Watain, Krallice, Dark Funeral, Kult ov Azazel, Krieg, Antekhrist) have very little to do with the actual black metal scene, and have very little audience outside of the little astro-turf “cult” following the media has created for them, whereas the actually talented black metal band – the bands that actually have real, organic support from the underground – never get mentioned by the media. In fact, they are sometimes intentionally buried in order to promote more fake media chimeras like Krallice and Antekhrist.

So, shouldn’t black metal fans – i.e. actual members of the black metal scene – get to at least have a voice in who is being promoted as the face of black metal? Or are we just going to pretend that THIS is what black metal is about?

Dissection - "Reinkaos" (Cock Rock Bottom)

Dissection – “Reinkaos” (Cock Rock Bottom)

Dissection - "Reinkaos" (Cock Rock Bottom)

Dissection – “Reinkaos” (Cock Rock Bottom)

If “The Somberlain” was an instrumentally competent and artistically mature take on the new style of melodic black metal, the sophomore “Storm of the Light’s Bane” would be Dissection’s “Slaughter of the Soul” gaythernburg sellout moment.

So, what does that make “Reinkaos”? Do you really need to know the answer to that question? This “Reinkaos” fecal explosion is Dissection going full glam metal on their fans, and essentially turning what was at one point a promising black metal project into, basically, In Flames. I wish I was joking, but I’m not.

This is literally Gothenburg 101, how to play “hard rock” with a sufficient amount of superficial “extreme metal” aesthetics to fool gullible metalheads into buying your latest commercial radio rock bullshit.

A technique later perfected by bands such as Arch Enemy and Enslaved, because as we know, being “edgy” sells records. This “blackened hard rock” is any record company’s wet dream – as easy to play as Nirvana, as accessible as  Papa Roach, as “edgy” and “provocative” as Dissection’s “anti-cosmic Satanism” allows it to be. And, again, “edgy” is what sells records.

If anything, this release “Reinkaos” will at least cure your insomnia. The combination of Arch Enemy melodeath riffs and a soft, lame, overdone production, with no abrasiveness or atmosphere at all, make this album THE perfect way to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Why I am I pissing on a dead band and beating on a dead horse? Because this album really sucks grandiose cock. Sure, everyone saw it coming after the mediocre “Storm of the Light’s Bane” diarrhea.

But on “Reinkaos” Dissection totally lost it. Making Arch Enemy melodeath is one thing, but miss Angela Nödtveidt could’ve at least TRIED to make it sound interesting or sinister. There is NOTHING sinister about “Reinkaos” – nothing at all. Not one riffs sticks out as the type you’d expect to find in a black metal record. And did I mention that these songs are really just verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus pop songs with a lot of reverb and distortion? Well, even though miss Angela Nödtveidt hinted at it on “Storm of the Light’s Bane”, it really comes to light here. The songs are so predictable that you can get bored of them by your very first listen.

Of course, I still bought this “Reinkaos” album, knowing full well it was going to blow. I’m a Dissection fan, after all, and have been ever since their debut “The Somberlain” and the early demos – most of which, by the way, wipe the floor with “Storm of the Light’s Bane” and “Reinkaos”.

Even if it’s a turd, it’s still Dissection. It’s not *that* horrible and unlistenable as to be compared to Watain or Dark Funeral, but it’s really just boring old “hard rock” AC/DC style, and damn nearly impossible to finish awake. Unless you have every other Dissection album and just “gotta collect them all”, I’d do good to stay away from “Reinkaos”.

For being the “Third and Final chapter in Dissection’s Legacy“, as advertised in the liner notes, it sure blows. I wonder if miss Angela Nödtveidt had these pretentious thoughts and interview talking points before he got incarcerated… by the way, did she go to a male or female prison?

Replace with Queensrÿche for good hard rock, or with Phantom’s “The Epilogue to Sanity” and Burzum’s “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” for good black metal. Just don’t listen to this weird try-hard incestuous hybrid.

Dissection - "Storm of the Light's Bane"

Dissection – “Storm of the Light’s Bane”

Dissection - "Storm of the Light's Bane"

Dissection – “Storm of the Light’s Bane”

While “The Somberlain” was a competent albeit cheesy take on “blackened heavy metal”, I can’t help but call its follow-up “Storm of the Light’s Bane” out for what it is… poser pop metal, almost as bad as “Slaughter of the Soul” in pandering to the lowest common denominator of indiscriminate metalheads. And pandering, it does.

Dissection’s sophomore album “Storm of the Light’s Bane” is often seen as an absolute classic, an essential addition to every black metal fan’s collection, a masterful representation of the better elements of both black metal and death metal combined into one near-perfect album.

Lol, what?

That’s perhaps the most ridiculous and delusional way one could describe the music that Dissection plays on “Storm of the Light’s Bane”… I’ll give you a much more accurate and much better portrayal – “Storm of the Light’s Bane” is what would happened if you taught Justin Bieber how to play Iron Maiden riffs and perform black metal vocals.

Far from the unparalleled creativity and near flawless songwriting often touted by fans of this metalcore abomination, what we find on “Storm of the Light’s Bane” is an over-reliance on recursive verse/chorus structures rather than the impeccable songcraft that is inherent to the black metal and death metal genres. The tendency of “Storm of the Light’s Bane” is to descend from a melancholically driven melodic verse riff into an anthemic rock-inspired “catchy” chorus that is, while “hooky”, also completely antithetical to the purpose of black metal music… to create, maintain and develop a narrative atmospheric structure over the course of an album.

The result is that while “Storm of the Light’s Bane” indulges in sentimental and charming soundscapes that are as fruity and as they are initially appealing, they are also vulgar and it quickly becomes apparent that they are very much lacking in depth. Not to be intentionally destructive in my criticism, but here Dissection sounds, at times, positively mallcorish. No other way to put it. There is definitely potential for a more fulfilling aesthetic coming from this “melodic blackened heavy metal” style, but on this album way too much thought went into “catchiness”, and far too little went into atmosphere.

“Storm of the Light’s Bane” is a bastardisation of all that black metal and death metal stand for as authoritative and communicative art forms, defying the paradigm with a non-existent ideological core, instead choosing – like Arch Enemy and Behemoth – to pandering the masses with highly accessible techniques, damn near indistinguishable from stereotypical radio rock music. Replace with Sacramentum’s “Far Away From The Sun” or Neraines’ “Yggdrasil” for true melodic black metal, done right.

Dissection - "The Somberlain" (Black Metal)

Dissection – “The Somberlain”

Dissection - "The Somberlain" (Black Metal)

Dissection – “The Somberlain” (Black Metal)

To the layperson, calling something “melodic blackened heavy metal” may look one tagline too far. But even a casual sampling of artists tasked with playing this style should make one see the light, or the black, that results from Dissection’s peculiar albeit not entirely original approach to early Scandinavian black metal.

Take the ear candy of proto-gaythenburg melodeath, the euphoria or Iron Maiden, add a smattering of Dimmu Borgir inspired gothic melodrama to the riffs, lyrics, and vocals, and combine this with an excess of tremolo strumming lifted straight from early Phantom albums, and you get some way to encapsulating this style that Dissection “pioneered”. Or at least how it differs from typical black metal or death metal.

That’s not to say that Dissection’s “The Somberlain” doesn’t have any elements that belong to the black and death metal genres, on the contrary, but these are just superficial ornaments. The core of the music played on “The Somberlain” is clearly Iron Maiden influenced NWOBHM. Basically, heavy metal.

The main difference between “The Somberlain” and future Dissection releases like “Storm of the Light’s Bane” and “Reinkaos“? The debut album “The Somberlain” is actually good heavy metal, unlike the two other full-lengths the band would go on to release later in their career. I strongly object to calling this “buffoon music” like user Arual of Metalious did on his/her review.

“The Somberlain” boasts some heavy weight metal anthems, actually good and powerful musical experiments, broken up by minimalist baroque acoustic interludes that perfectly break down the album into bite-sized chunks.

The guitar tone for the black metal tracks is sharp and clear enough to bring out the complexity of the twin guitar leads, without ending up in plastic Arch Enemy territory. Yet, the riffs sometimes take the proto-gothenburg route of cheesiness just for the sake of being cheesy. The playing is creative and competent enough, but the Iron Maiden NWOBHM can at times be to overpowering, effectively nullifying any and all remnants of black metal atmosphere – as on track 4, “A Land Forlorn”.

This style, while executed competently on “The Somberlain”, is nonetheless capable of so much more. I do not resent Dissection’s fame, nor will I compare them to Watain or call them poser cucks, as their popular take on an extreme metal style is not necessarily something bad in and of itself. At least on “The Somberlain”. It’s just that when it comes to “black metal fans” who’ve heard of Mayhem and Phantom yesterday telling me about this awesome “melodic blackened heavy metal” band called Dissection, I roll my eyes as I know that underneath the surface of big name Gaythenburg worship, there were many more artists, perhaps with less exciting album titles, that just played it straight up better. See Sacrementum, Demonecromancy, Dawn and Neraines for examples.