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Wan – Antichristian Douchebags

Wan
Antichristian Douchebags
by Savely Nevzorov at 16 May 2022, 4:26 PM

It’s been more than a decade since the Swedish Black Metal band WAN put out their debut record “Wolves of the North” in 2010. Their new LP “Antichristian Douchebags” released via Corrupted Flesh Records proves that time has no power over some things, especially when it comes to fast and unpolished raw black metal from Sweden.

In general, the likelihood of enjoying or rejecting this record depends greatly on your attitude towards the early Norwegian and Swedish Black Metal bands. WAN’s music is infused with rage and haste similar to that of such genre pillars as MAYHEM, BATHORY, DARKTHRONE, and the rest of the well-known names. The recommendation is clear: are you a fan of these bands? Then there is a chance that you will like WAN’s new record. Do you not listen to Black Metal or prefer its more experimental manifestations? - Feel free to pass by, as you are unlikely to find something highly original or surprising in “Antichristian Douchebags”.

What's in it for those, who appreciate "classic" Black Metal and want more of it? Prepare your checklists. Fast riffs and tremolos? Check! Anti-Christian lyrics and appeal? Check. Disturbing raw sound? Perhaps, a little bit too raw this time. The mix has a series of issues. The most notable one is the loudness of the vocals. I know that many of the well-known Black Metal bands utilized this kind of mix at the dawn of their careers but it always seemed to me that it rather prevents the listener from hearing the rest of the band over the excessive voice sound. It is very unfortunate in WAN’s case because there are plenty of vocal lines in “Antichristian Douchebags” and they do serve as an obstacle sometimes. The lyrical themes aren’t that intriguing, too. As of now, the anti-Christian narrative has been walking hand in hand with Black Metal for so long that it is hard to tell whether it is still a vital topic and an endless source for criticism and inspiration for Black Metal musicians or a mere simulacrum and a time capsule for a protest that hit its prime three decades ago.

If the over-the-top genre dogmatism and some mixing issues don't put you off, you may find that WAN plays pretty cool black metal after all. It is fast, aggressive, and raw, and it slaps you on the cheek with every symbol hit. I think that in the case of “Antichristian Douchebags” it is pointless to go through each song and look for every specific reference. My personal favorites are the opening track “The Viper”, as well as “Night of the Pagans”, with its opening drum roll that gave me a strong “Bergtatt” vibe. The lack of innovation is a minor problem, because it may be exactly why many people will find this music quite attractive. It is just a matter of preference at the end. I might not enjoy such Black Metal that much anymore, as it's been quite a long time since I got into this genre and my taste has developed a bit further from the ground principles of anti-Christian wraith and razorblade-sharp early black metal riffage. That being said, I know plenty of people who do enjoy this kind of Black Metal very much. They like the message, they love that it's old-fashioned, and they love the very thing WAN stands for. And I love the fact that there’s this kind of Black Metal still exists even if I'm not, particularly a fan of it, and I have nothing but respect for WAN’s willingness to keep doing what they do.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Viper
2. Tvinsot
3. Redeemer, Saviour, Skank
4. Midskog
5. Antichristian Douchebag
6. By Thousand Horns Impaled
7. Djefulsdrapa
8. Night of the Pagans
9. The End of All Light
10. Stupstocken
11. Svartrid
12. Dekket av snø
13. The Roots of Metal
Lineup:
Isengrim - Guitars
Tsjud - Vocals
Drægg - Drums
Skoll - Bass
Record Label: Corrupted Flesh Records
     


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Edited 07 July 2022
 

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