Watain/Degial – London, The Dome – 12 January 2018 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep   
Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:20

Watain sigilAs first gigs of the year go, Watain are a pretty good way to start. Despite a 500+ mile round trip, I'm in good spirits after a quiet couple of weeks and looking forward to experiencing Watain live for the first time. The Tufnell Park Dome is a venue well known to me and is a pleasant one to watch in, with good sound, so I settle myself by the front and await the support.


Tonight's support comes in the form of Degial, a Swedish blackened death metal band, who take to the stage attired in their customary corpse paint and studded belts and leather. H. Death leads the vocals, with second guitarist R. Meresin aiding well as a secondary and back up vocalist. The bassist, at times, looks a touch more rigid than the rest, like he's not fully comfortable, with much jerkier headbanging than the rest, though this is strangely compelling at the same time, as he is clearly enjoying the band's music.


Between songs, there is no crowd interaction, with the band moving quickly between songs, or using a white noise backdrop when retuning is required. The drummer, whilst mainly maintaining the kind of blast beats you would expect from this genre of band, occasionally goes into slightly different time signatures, some of which are not dissimilar to Igor Cavalera in an almost tribalistic feel, which provides a nice, albeit brief, change to the blasts. The performance goes down quite well with the capacity crowd, who warm to Degial over the course of the set, with the end of the set being quite well greeted.


Now on to headliners Watain, after several roadies add some decoration to the stage, such as two large inverted crosses with candles atop and a couple of tridents on each side. They come on slowly, to atmospheric background music, with vocalist E leading the procession, proceeding to light the candles on the inverted crosses and some in front of the backline, before extinguishing the torch.


The crowd reaction is immediate, with plenty of headbanging and fists in the air. An early appearance in the set of ‘Black Flames March’ and ‘Devil's Blood’ add a lot of atmosphere into the act, with E at times staring at a cup in front of one of the candles, almost singing to it. The atmospheric parts contrast superbly with the blast beat sections, an almost light/dark feel, even though the atmospheric parts feel far from light. The sense of almost mysticism in the softer parts is engrossing, dragging in your attention and capturing you within it.


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E greets the crowd as the guitars retune for some songs, providing slight interaction while doing so, before raising his fist to his chest and bowing, before the band continue their set. The band continue through the set, before reaching the end of the main with ‘The Serpents Chalice’, with E once again displaying an almost shamanistic presence, as he flicks some liquid through a candle flame, with a small spurt of fire arcing towards the crowd, before burning out before getting too close. There is just time enough for a cover of Dissection's ‘The Somberlain’ as an encore before the lights go out and the gig is brought to an end. An excellent performance, that I fully intend to attend again in future.


Watain’s new album, ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’, is out now.


Watain headline the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock on Sunday 12 August.


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