Watain, November 22, 2019 @ The Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, Dallas, Texas

Watain’s return to the North American shores for the 2019 USA Sickness Tour with headliners Morbid Angel and support Incantation has had an unfortunate rough start.

Founding Watain member Pelle Forsberg was and has been denied entry into the United States by US customs officials thus forcing the band to perform the entire tour as a four-piece.

Vocalist Erik Danielsson would now handle bass and vocals whereas bassist Alvaro Lillo would handle second guitar duties.

The members of Watain were not able to rehearse the set as a four-piece prior to the opening night of the tour in Houston on Thursday, November 21. Instead, the band had to cancel but carried on the following night in Dallas at the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, an outdoor venue.

Watain’s was hitting the road once again to tour in support of Trident Wolf Eclipse which was released in early 2018 through Century Media records.

For a band restructuring to perform minus a member with little notice, Watain delivered their opening night of the tour with a tight and well-structured set. Their ability to do so stems from the road experience as the true Black Metal veterans they are.

For their set, Watain relied on material from Trident Wolf Eclipse as well as Opus Diaboli, Sworn to the Dark and Casus Luciferi to round out their seven-song night.

Not sacrificing on the production side of things as main support, the stage was fashioned with complete, barebone animal skeletons, chains, and steel inverted gothic crosses that were anchored on each side of Danielsson’s center stage positioning. Backing the band was the white Watain log on black canvas instead of the standard LED screen that illuminates logos for bands.

Watain’s Erik Danielsson
Photo by: Brian McLean

All members were outfitted in large metal spikes, leather boots, and corpse paint adding for a night of Black Metal.

With Danielsson handling both vocals and bass duties, his focus, fierceness, and intensity could be noticed in his eyes and body language as he aggressively stalked the limited available stage room.

As for Lillo and guitarist H. Death, both remained fairly stationary through the night due to their restricted space stage wise.

Red and yellow stage lighting were the colors of choice with hints of light purple while fog flowed from stage right.

No matter the level of deviltry the Swedish band brought, the showtime temperature remained frigid but the crowd was given some relief. The venue provided several patio heaters as well as the recently erected prototype clear canopy that reached to the second level. The structure helped to maintain the thermal energy provided by the heater spewing controlled flames.

Watain may have had a bumpy start to the tour but in the end, they delivered a flawless opening night set. Those not familiar with Watain would have no idea the band normally tours as a five-piece. Watain demonstrated the four-piece version is just as lethal as the accustomed five-piece Watain.

Fans may be disappointed that Forsberg is unable to tour but they will not be disappointed with Watain’s presentation.