Watain are a Swedish black metal band from Uppsala, formed in 1998. The band’s name is taken from an early recording by the American black metal group Von. To date they have released five full-length albums, as well as three live albums and a number of demos and EPs. The band have become infamous for their Theistic Satanist views and for their live shows which involve pyrotechnics, candles, Satanic rituals, animal carcasses, and blood. At a now-notorious live performance in Brooklyn in 2014 they doused audience members in animal blood, allegedly causing members of the audience to vomit. This was picked up and publicised by TMZ, generating controversy around the incident.
Watain were formed in 1998. According to Erik Danielsson, when the band formed, “there weren’t really any bands anymore that seemed to take things that seriously, and there weren’t that many bands that actually consisted of, you know, people that did so much more than just play the music that they liked and the same kind of music that their idols play”. They released their demo Go Fuck Your Jewish “God” in 1998 and their live tape Black Metal Sacrifice in 1999, which they do not intend to re-release. In October 1999, the band released their EP The Essence of Black Purity through Grim Rune Productions, which they consider to be their first official release, and played on a show together with Malign and Dark Funeral, organised by Watain and Grim Rune Productions.
Since the beginning of their career, Watain have often been compared to Dissection or considered to be influenced by Ofermod. Erik Danielsson confirmed that “Watain and Dissection do indeed have a lot in common as bands, both musically and spiritually”, but also replied that questions like these “are completely irrelevant in relation to the great abomination from which both Dissection and Watain were born out of”. Bands named as influences include Bathory, Mayhem, Mercyful Fate, Death SS, Samael and Necrovore.
Watain has been known to perform live using candles, pyrotechnics, and, akin to numerous black metal acts, limbs and bones of animal carcasses. The band gained notoriety doing this and even dousing audience members with animal blood (which is part of the normal Watain Ritual) in a show at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar in 2014, reportedly causing some attendees to vomit.This soon garnered attention on TMZ. Even more controversial is how Watain obtains the animal carcasses and blood. Allegations persist about the band that its members killed pigeons and even attempted to buy dogs from the homeless as a source of blood. Erik Danielsson currently denies this, although in past interviews he implied that he has partaken in or attempted to sacrifice live animals for shows, although it’s not discernible as to whether or not he was completely serious behind his remarks.
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