Review Summary: Slothy feculence.
I'm not sure what Dragged Into Sunlight really attempted to pull with WidowMaker
. The idea that this was an entirely natural evolution is a bit beyond belief, with such a sloughing off of substance. The foursome's collective attitude doesn't really showcase a heartfelt need for change either. Their "hate and rape everything" dogma, furnished by their black band T-shirts, single-letter pseudonyms and omnipresent balaclavas, makes it difficult to differentiate them from terrorists, quite frankly. I have no doubt that this abrupt turn of style was nothing but a overwrought attempt at a "*** you" to everyone's expectations.
was a record I long awaited to come over the horizon. DIS' debut, Hatred For Mankind
was so mind-numbingly filthy I felt dirty just purchasing it for the sadistic KKK-meets-Satan-possessing-a-goat artwork alone (Is that the Leviathan
logo?). The tracks stretched on for what seemed like an eternity in purgatory, unable to see or breathe in the pitch black and smoke while Gollum-esque creatures smashed at your body with chunks of uncooled brimstone.
Now there's violin.
And I'm pretty sure that's piano.
Which is all fine and good if you're playing navelgazing Alcest moan-metal, but what's with this 15 minutes of meandering where there used to be unadulterated savagery? And it's the longest of three tracks which are simply Roman numerals instead of "Volcanic Birth" or "Lashed To the Grinder and Stoned To Death"? Thought-provoking metal is all well and good, but it requires some, you know…thought, as with the clean choral chants on Hatred For Mankind
's "I, Aurora" or the twinkly percussion on "Totem of Skulls". Not just the idea that a Burton-y dirge and someone rubbing themselves on the violin from Titanic
is the new hate. Other than the unnecessary length the descriptively titled "I"'s issue is that it has no business spearheading "II" and "III". It's solemn and moody (nowhere near as dark as the claims), best used as an Agalloch
interlude, not the creepy and seething buildup which seems to be the intent. "III" even adds more stylistic schizophrenia, randomly dropping into an airy skramz form and back out again.
The problem's in the potential. WidowMaker
is so stripped-down as to have lost any sense of forbidding. Speaking of Gollum, it's like the difference between Fellowship
eerie silhouette of "the creature Gollum" and the pitiful leashed thing in Two Towers
. All the murk of Dragged Into Sunlight has been peeled off, dried out and turned into that post-boring odyssey of a first track, taking away their music's own little balaclava and leaving it bare and badly burnt. When WidowMaker
gets around to the sludge tracks "II" and "III" they seem oddly naked, like throwing vegetables in a bowl of hot water and calling it soup. Too much is chunky but not smeared enough, lacking in any sort of motion or speed that leaves the sustained chords coated in swampy reverb and directionless. DIS is still angry and heavy as lead, but there's no sense of ferocity
anymore, no explosive bursts of blast beats -- just slothy feculence.
There's points aiming towards decent sludge here, but not a lot amounting to making DIS stand out. Past comparisons to their debut, WidowMaker
is still a mass of buzz-choked riffs that is a perfectly passable sort of Satanic muck. There's definitely some neck-snapping moments in the center segment of "II," and hell "III" drops the low end like its Sunn O)))
. But the overall oppressive weight is absent, however, and the voice recordings are reduced almost to underlying tape noise. And when a band with an excellent starting point devolves with a "passable" style change that I can't really make myself pay that great attention to? Plus disconnected sections that allude to a serious identity crisis rather than a tightly-reined evolution? That seems the start of a downward spiral.