Quite unlike the majority of today's Black Metal bands WATAIN have accomplished a great feat by creating something with "Casus Luciferi" that both stands out as fresh and forward thinking yet hails back to the glory days of other more notorious acts. When listening to this album is becomes obvious that it is not necessary to have a garage production to capture the true evil nature of good Black Metal. The sound of this retains a lot of clarity and is in itself very effective to let the presence of their riffs be truly felt. Despite this the sound itself falls short of the more characteristic tones set by DISSECTION (who certainly appear to be the strongest influence on the band).
Unlike 99% of bands who take primary influence from DISSECTION WATAIN are actually worthy of such comparisons as I truly feel that the strength of the material on "Casus Luciferi" rivals even some of the choice cuts from the legendary "Storm Of The Light's Bane". Opener "Devil's Blood" kicks in as the band mean to continue with ferocious blasting riffs and nice echoing vocals. The style of the guitars owes a lot to DISSECTION yet there is definitely less of a Death Metal influence.
Aside from the DISSECTION influence, as I said their sound is much more Black, I can hear influence from other classic bands including early GORGOROTH (for example at the beginning of "Opus Dei"). In terms of delivery everything here appears to be executed almost flawlessly as the musicians seem to be more than competent. The riffs come across as very powerful and the percussion varied yet relentless. The vocals however are very tonally monotonous yet seem to be more fitting and effective as a result.
The quality of the songs cannot be stated enough as this is a genuine classic album. With all the right ingredients here "Casus Luciferi" is easily one of the better albums of 2004 and is an essential purchase for fans of DISSECTION and good Black Metal in general. (Online September 1, 2004)