Sworn To The Dark
Clydelee, on february 08, 2016 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Watain seems to be one of the more melodic black metal bands out there, but that definitely doesn't distract from their intensity by any means. "Sworn to the Dark" is their third studio album released in 2007, the sound doesn't deviate too far from most of Watain's other albums but the albums musical composition stands out as Watain's best effort at creating a dark, intense, and brutal album with harmonies and melodies that add to this dark atmosphere, rather than subtract from it. For me some of Watain's other albums, like "Lawless Darkness," attempt this sort of balance between melody and dark intensity but are not as successful. That doesn't mean that Watain's other albums are bad or worse than "Sworn to the Dark," I just don't think the others accomplish this complementary balance between total darkness and harmony. The album keeps up a feeling of intensity even on the slower songs, and never loses the dark, evil tone.
In terms of overall sound quality and production, "Sworn to the Dark" seems a lot less "raw" when compared to "Rabid Death's Curse" or "Casus Luciferi," perhaps this is a sign of better production or maybe just a decision by the band to move on from that old school black metal sound. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics in "Sworn to the Dark" don't seem to be too different compared to Watain's other stuff, Erik's delivery of cryptic satanic mythology is only accentuated by a wall of tremolo guitar and blast beats, with cleverly broken up chords to underline the dark quality of the lyrics. The one track that I really don't care for in terms of the lyrical content is actually the title track "Sworn to the Dark," after seeing them live (what a show) this song seemed a little bit forced or gimmicky and I just can't get rid of that feeling when I listen to it, its got some good riffs but the chorus just seems bland when compared to the other songs lyrics like that of "Storm of the Antichrist" or "Stellavore."
On a sidenote relating to Watain lyrics, Watain seems to be very passionate about "satanism," that turns some people off. I just think it makes for fucking brutal black metal. // 8
Overall Impression: 1. "Legions of the Black Light" - starts off with some big chords and tremolo picking and enters a driving riff with the vocals tearing over the top, leading into a particularly nasty chorus section with shifting minor chords. A pretty cool song, very brutal opening for the album utilizing classic black metal technique. One of my favorite vocal "effects" Erik does is in this song at ~3:58, very haunting.
2. "Satan's Hunger" - this song kicks off with a fairly simple riff with dissonant guitar ringing over, most of this one is pretty repetetive, nothing too crazy in terms of musical composition but the lyrics keep the intensity going, "into the starless night!"
3. "Withershins" - short, creepy ambient instrumental track, it does set the listener up for a pretty intense track, doesn't offer much else, unless you needed a short break...
4. "Storm of the Antichrist" - one of the best songs on the album in terms of lyrical content, most of the song also keeps pretty fast and driving instrumentals to complement the vocals, with a catchy riff that starts at ~1:36, definitely one of my favorite Watain songs.
5. "The Light That Burns the Sun" - This is one of those songs that kind of highlights Watain's ability to produce quality black metal without having to just tremolo and blast beat us to death. Planing between minor chords and keeping the rhythm varied (at least somewhat varied) for each riff makes for some interesting music, especially when the atmospheric lead lines come over the top of everything.
6. "Sworn to the Dark" - one of my least favorite songs on the album, it's still pretty intense in terms of composition, i just don't care for the chorus, eh. The riff at ~0:46 is kind of cool.
7. "Underneath the Cenotaph" - slow, clean minor intro with a haunting melody, leading into a super heavy verse, this song is a highlight of the album for sure, melodic and thrashy at the same time, it's a very good mix, with multiple riffs and beats that will catch your attention.
8. "The Serpent's Chalice" - after the fast verses and parts from "Underneath the Cenotaph," this song offers a good complement, with haunting melodic lines and slower riffs and beats that are slightly less chaotic that give the spotlight to the lyrics with reverb to really create a massive sound and atmosphere. The song fades out on a slow melodic theme.
9. "Darkness and Death" - classic black metal sound with some heavy double bass stuff and tremolo picking, at about 1:50 the song gets broken up and its kind of foreshadowing for the last track on the album, but also offers a good transition to a slower second half (excluding the ending).
10. "Dead But Dreaming" - another instrumental, a bit longer than "Withershins," with a repeating theme, it seems to be just guitar, again this song offers a good build up to the following song, but I'm not a fan of this very empty type of track.
11. "Stellavore" - This song is INTENSE, fairly simple in terms of composition but it is very heavy, listening to this album all the way through this song caught me off guard. It is sort of an epic, a great finish for the album, at ~2:53 "GOD... OF... DEATH... MAN... I... FEST!" woah, alright count me in.
Everything considered, this album is a great production by a good black metal band, maybe not their best record but it's very interesting, to say the least. // 9