Review Summary: A three part soundscape that will cause a few heads to be scratched; not because of the album itself but, from the progression from their last, better recieved full length Hatred For Mankind.
A debut can be a fickle release for any group, many a time the debut is seen as a promise of things to come, quite as often the debut is seen as the band’s most successful release and a hallmark of their career. In this respect Dragged Into Sunlight isn’t all that different; their first release (the already mentioned) Hatred For Mankind
showed a sludge affair that created a fanbase that would look forward to whatever the band would release in the near future. Hatred For Mankind
was your typical sludge filled doom-esque release highlighting the band’s tendencies to piece together excellent song writing and dark themes to create an interesting yet accessible record. Enter Dragged Into Sunlight’s sophomore record in 2012 and those once avid listeners are left to wonder if they are listening to the same group. The band has dropped a typical track format and gone for a three part affair using a focus on drawn out melancholy, repetitious phrasing and the occasional orchestral instrument. The highly favoured harsh vocals of the previous record do make an appearance but simply the band has found a less is more approach to this particular record. Where tracks used to thunder through the listeners’ ears, they require a little more patience for Dragged Into Sunlight’s new approach.
It’s fair to say that Dragged Into Sunlight should be given some credit for trying something new. Widowmaker
highlights that the band can do something away from the foundation they just built for themselves. The album itself is not really a follow up to the debut, rather it’s an exploration for a band whose identities are as shrouded in mystery as the bleak and sinister music they produce. Fittingly the album was recorded in three sections over the course of a couple of years, allowing the band to add new dimensions and experiences to the record. This allows for growth between the three sections and possibly allow for a contrast to maintain the listeners overall attention. After an eerie introduction building on suspense and atmosphere the album brings the listener to a tumult of harsh vocals, distorted riffs and steady, if not stuttering drum work. The listener is relatively hit in the ears with a baseball bat after some rather sedate passages. ‘Part II’ shows the band still know how to string together a couple of riffs in order to carry a message. ‘Part III’ regresses for the listener; the melancholy makes a return but, here contrasted to ‘Part I’ there is an emphasis on the sludge sections, highlighting the concept of the album’s internal progression. The album comes in at just over thirty seven minutes; long enough to actively demonstrate what the band was going for but brief enough as to not completely lose the listener in wave after wave of repeated passages and sometimes out of place ideas.
is a striking album. There is a beauty to be found in its creation, whether it be the elegant tones of ‘Part I’ the sludge filled ‘Part II’ or the culmination that brings the record together in ‘Part III’. Dragged Into Sunlight is a band that is willing to try some new things, however in comparison to the debut (especially for fans who enjoyed Hatred For Mankind
massively) they seem to have lost touch with a successfully enjoyable sound. That isn’t to say that Widowmaker
is a ‘throw-away’ record, more like an album to be compared to itself to be better understood, rather than as a follow up to the debut.