A black cloud has come to Bloodstock, that cloud has a name and its name is Watain, a satanic firestorm of blood and venom waiting to be unleashed on a somewhat unsuspecting crowd, well I say unsuspecting but I’ve seen more Watain shirts this weekend than any other band, so there is at least a buzz in the air about them.
Watain are a living, breathing force of dark magic spewed forth from the pits of hell itself. The stage is adorned in ritualistic paraphernalia and it truly does look like someone is about to be sacrificed right in front of our very eyes. There are flaming Watain symbols, candles and all kinds of other crazy things, then there is the band themselves, covered in corpse paint and cows blood they look like they have just risen from the grave and are ready to eat your heart.
Make no mistake about it, Watain are a tight live band, given that only 3 of them make up the band, they are ridiculously good at what they do.The problem lies in the stage show which in many ways does act as a ritual, and there are elements of it that slows it down, whether frontman Erik Danielson is shaking a goblet of cows blood into the audience or lighting candles, it seems that the spectacle sometimes overshadows the performance, and some elements of it don’t translate as well as they should to a festival audience in the day time.
With that said, one has to believe that indoors where the stage show could be used to full affect and honed in a bit more there is no doubt that Watain could potentially take black metal to the masses without having to dumb down their sound, or possibly they may just ditch the theatrics and put more into just pummelling their audience into dust. As the last final image of pyro exploding with Erik stood with his back to the audience with a goat skull aloft, there is no denying that we have just witnessed something that won’t be duplicated this weekend.
Photos taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal