While Greta Thunberg rides first class rail through Europe, Sweden’s more honest emissaries, Watain made their way across the US and landed in Reading, Pennsylvania this past Sunday night, December 15, 2019.
There were obvious controversies and problems with immigration at the beginning of this tour, with guitarist, Pelle Forsberg being banned from entering the United States, for what seems like no real reason at all. This meant that Erik Danielsson would have to handle double duty on both bass and vocals. Now, you might recall that Erik played bass live for Dissection, so he was no doubt equipped to deal with this setback, however, it is a shame that Pelle couldn’t be on stage where he belonged. Erik, in true Erik fashion, crushed it like he always does.
I’ve seen Watain many times, because, let’s face it, they’re amazing, and I noticed a more than usual amount of anger and aggressiveness on this particular show. Perhaps this was because the focus was more on the band’s latest release Trident Wolf Eclipse which showcases Watain’s turn towards a grittier, combative and truculent sound than some previous recordings. Personally, I love Watain like this as they continue to show their strength in a world that despises them.
Most of the crowd knew what to expect as the crew set up the stage, but many were a bit taken aback by the sheer amount of death that Watain seemed to carrying with them this tour. A virtual barnyard of animal heads adorned the stage, which produced a putrid and vile aroma that quickly overtook the first few rows of people. The massive amounts of dry ice pumping through the decaying flesh as it wafted its way through the crowd didn’t help things either. I couldn’t get the smell off my clothes as I came home. My cat, however, was most certainly happy sleeping on them.
Not a lot of hipsters or yuccies at this show, thankfully, as they were probably busy gentrifying Brooklyn or reading Vox Media. The crowd was, appropriately, filled with actual metal fans. Another reason to love metal shows in Reading, PA. Reverb has become my go-to place for metal as of late.
Let’s hope Watain decides to come back to the US because this show most definitely left me wanting more.
Watain has a small number of shows left with Incantation and Morbid Angel. Definitely go – unless you think Deafheaven is black metal, in which case, you probably should stay home.