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Live Review: Watain, Nocturnal Graves, Sorathian Dawn

25 February 2019 | 1:02 pm | Mark Hebblewhite

"Watain delivered a technically superb odyssey through their back catalogue."

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No one is ever going to ‘out-chaos’ Watain, but Sydney’s very own Sorathian Dawn gave it the old college try with a concise half-hour of black metal fury mostly collated from their recent five-track missive, Sun Of The Deep. With a manic and slightly esoteric sound, Sorathian Dawn set the tone nicely for what was to come.

Nocturnal Graves aren’t the subtlest outfit in the world, but their blend of Dissection-styled black metal and old school Germanic thrash quickly had heads snapping at a rate of knots. The boys have been around for a while now and not surprisingly their jagged aural assault was a focused blast of fury that melted faces ten rows back. This Victorian outfit remains one of the more exciting offerings from the black metal underworld and, if you haven’t already, you’d be well advised to pick up last year’s Titan LP.

You don’t just ‘hear’ a Watain show – you ‘experience it’. Lit candles, dry ice aplenty, ominous banners and an eerie lighting extravaganza made the set an otherworldly experience. That said, blistering black metal was still the order of the day and from the first strains of Storm Of The Antichrist, the Swedish outfit led by main-man Erik Danielsson were nothing short of ferocious. Aided by an extremely clear mix, Watain delivered a technically superb odyssey through their back catalogue with cuts from last year’s Trident Wolf Eclipse (Nuclear Alchemy, Sacred Damnation and Furor Diabolicus) proving particularly satisfying. When they added in a sublime rendition of Sworn To The Dark and a classic Bathory cut it was clear that Watain’s patented black metal mass is one of the most unique experiences in heavy music.