Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wan (Sweden): Enjoy the Filth (Carnal Records)

Wan (Sweden): Enjoy the Filth (Carnal Records)
In 2010 Wan had a grim black metal album called “Wolves of the North,” a headbanging, metal-on-metal-to-the-bone primal recording. Now they have a second title out to reaffirm their loyalty as defenders of the old metal standard. If anything, one thing is even clearer now: Wan is more in-your-face and the songs are better in the old school way. Whereas before, Wan gave the impression of early 90s black metal totalitarians, now Wan is sicker, slimier, dirtier. These roughnecks seek metalheads into classic Motorhead and Venom, Hellhammer and 80s Bathory, the punk of The Exploited and Discharge, the gutter metal of Autopsy, and of course, early 90s black metal from Norway and Sweden. Whether it’s 80s thrash or old death metal or ugly black metal, Wan searches for the audience with certain curmudgeon qualities, not necessarily the easy-going, not the go-the-flow, not the I-find-something-positive-in-every-genre attitude. Wan does not play nice. Wan does not get along with “everybody.” I am confident that if the jukebox at the bar plays In Flames or Killswitch Engage, these guys will pick up the jukebox and throw it out the window. They look like they are physically strong enough to do it, too. They make angry faces when they see people wearing Trivium shirts. Well, you get the picture. Curmudgeons.
Enjoy the filth. It’s an album title and an announcement for those that like their metal this way, rough around the edges, upfront, direct. You hear it, and you decide immediately if it’s for you. Repeated listens will not reveal more; not more “subtleties” because nothing here is subtle. There are no exotic instruments hidden underneath; no flutes, harps or trumpets will reveal themselves. Roughneck metal, or “pentagram rockers,” as the band says.
Wan’s music is incapable of leaving the gutter; it cannot, must not come to the light of respectability. Let it be mocked and dismissed. Let it be called garbage. Wan relishes all that. Wan resides in the places where the stink is so bad as to keep away those without the desire for this type of metal. Wan rumbles between slime-covered crust punk, rude cave black metal and obnoxious dumpster thrash, with a purposeful dirty 80s sound that is not far from early Venom, but definitely not as garage as the homemade Hellhammer and Death demos. Wan, unlike those old bands, knows exactly what they are doing. This is no accident. They want it like this. Do you?
When a bunch of rednecks like Wan makes metal this way, it is impossible to get enough of it. The expertise at every phase is so skilled that you can’t refuse this old metal. Just like that, the pentagram rockers are calling you.

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