Father’s Day? Check. Flaming Pitchfork? Check. Kid in a rubber horse mask? Ch-h-he-heck. It’s time for Watain in Brooklyn, the first and only Watain performance scheduled in the United States this year.

I wandered into the venue after successfully navigating Sunday night public transit without dying. Just made it with 15 minutes to spare. The venue? Some combination of a warehouse and a roller disco commune — yes, there are porta-johns in indoor areas.

As a relative outsider to black metal (but no stranger to Nordic metal), I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had an image in my head of the band being fronted by a super-serious person wearing fabulous corpse-paint makeup. This wasn’t “wrong,” necessarily, but I will say it was an understatement.

Preconceived notions aside, these guys put on a sick show. The guitar riffage was groovy and dark, unfortunately a little stunted because of the sound system; I could tell they were ripping intricate parts that just washed together into the oversized venue. Frontman Erik Danielsson managed to walk the fine line between avant-garde performance piece and goat-skull rhythmic gymnastics beautifully. No one really wanted to look anywhere else.

He was the show.

I don’t have an opinion one way or the other, but I do know that standing in the front row of any metal show (especially one you know is satanic and uses props) is going to prove unwise if you aren’t near a shower. It had been reported that Watain was bringing their full stage show (not usually done on longer tours in the U.S.), which includes a set designed for full, authentic theological satanic rituals. Tonight, though, Erik was nice enough to baptize the audience in pig’s blood from his own private goat skull. (The band claims to use real pig’s blood, which apparently doesn’t violate any health code laws as the New York State Health Department did not comment).

TMZ was also, apparently, there, too; why they’re at a Watain show, I have no idea, but the outlet reported audience members crying and puking, but only has a grainy cellphone video to show for it. No complaints were received by law enforcement. Watain does not currently have any other planned tour dates in the U.S.



Droning On

The world came to a halt in 2020, but London-based Drones trudged on, giving a voice to the hurt that circulates with (or without) a pandemic: "You shouldn’t underestimate the power of writing things down or literally speaking them out loud, which I’m learning. I’m glad I made these songs, no matter how personal they are."


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Top 25 Albums of 2020

The Top 25 Albums of 2020

When the going gets tough, artists create art. Despite a world reckoning outside our quarantined doors, musicians relentlessly created new music giving birth to genre-defining releases and, despite a year spent indoors, a marked 2020 full of passion and fervor. Here are our Top 25 albums of 2020.


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