Friday, October 26, 2012

Review of "Widowmaker" by Dragged Into Sunlight

Buy this album

1. Part I
2. Part II
3. Part III

Bleak, ugly, barren, and scorched are words that don’t paint a pleasant picture, which is why they're all perfect to describe the sound of the UK’s DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, whose sonicscape and outlook are far from pleasant. The band -- who have been compared to the likes of EYEHATEGOD, GODFLESH and NEUROSIS, and who appear masked in photos, play in near-total darkness and smoke and do not publicize their individual names -- commented on the state of today’s heavy music scene: “A few blastbeats, a scrawled logo and people accept it, regardless of the reality. DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT is a concept. We’ve taken the time to come up with our own understanding and presentation of what we want to see associated with extreme metal.”

In 2010, Prosthetic Records signed DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, the label's first-ever signing of a UK-based act, and re-released the band’s debut album “Hatred For Mankind” which Chicago Reader described as “Doom, death, black and sludge metal combined into an incomprehensible Lovecraftian horror that changes shape every time you take your eyes off it”.The album, recorded by Tom Dring and Billy Anderson (Eyehategod, Neurosis), was praised by Terrorizer magazine for its “delicious black majesty” and “crusty blackened doom". ‘Hatred’ received a 9/10 rating from Decibel magazine who claimed “if this record had hands, they’d choke the nearest throat” as well as Outburn magazine that labeled it “as relentlessly gripping as it is ugly”.

The group proceeded to earn extensive acclaim on tour alongside Godflesh, Morbid Angel, Electric Wizard and Cough, in addition to performances at such prestigious festivals as Roadburn and Maryland Death Fest – where according to Exclaim magazine “there was not a member of the audience left unravaged by the group’s crushing set”.

Their new album “Widowmaker" -- which the band has stated “would be a mistake to consider as a follow up to ‘Hatred For Mankind’“ -- will be released on Nov. 6. The grueling three-track, 40-minute release has been described by the band as “a concept album from beginning to end. It’s different yet still leaves the listener thinking whether jumping out a 4th floor window might actually be the best idea they’ve ever had.”   Be prepared for even more masochistic brutality!

At first glance, being forty minutes and three tracks with no really titles, this seemed to be a hard one to review. As you can see, it obviously is not! The fact that the strums at the beginning are left to ring out before the next one is played makes the beginning of “Part I” very creepy. The build up of the first riff is pretty chilling but also relaxing. Some parts of this song are very black metal feeling, especially later on in the nearly fifteen minute long track. Some of the ambient noises and spoken words bit really add to the whole feel. As well as the violin doing a great job at being goosebump inducing and eerie around nine minutes in and onward increasingly with the guitar. Who ever that is is definitely a talented violinist.

“Part II” brings a very interesting change, as I was expecting an ambient track like the prior. I was instead greeted with dirty riffs and stoner metal esque styling vocals. he mix between black and doom is ever so apparent in this track, with doom lengthened tendencies and very blackened riffs. The vocals switch to deeper growls and higher pitched screams which adds a blackened death feel. The gnarly crusty chug type riffs are amazing and there is a really awesome bass bit around seven minutes. Being very unexpected and so much heavier than the first track, this second one was very epic the whole way through.

Coming right off the prior track, the last part, “Part III,” leaves no room for breathing as it starts up without any break. The first three minutes is your standard doom metal song start with slow chugs and when the guitars get heavily distorted and dirty sounding you know what is coming in your direction. That being very chilling guitars, slow drums and menacing vocals. About half way through, the guitars give you a false sense of relaxation with its mellow style of playing and when the lead comes in over top it makes it even more so the case. The guitars start to build up and that relaxed feel you just had is now covered in darkness as the band comes back with sludgy riffs, epic drumming and screams. There is another slow part after but it is not relaxing at all as it throws you in a cold wintery forest to face another round of brutality which plays out the album.

This album is everything you want from a band of its nature. You get your stoner and doom metal length and feel and sludge, but you also get black and death metal, as well as some crust influence. The mix of black and doom is a very depressing blend to listen to, but I really enjoy it. Dragged Into Sunlight really pull at your emotions and make for an interesting listen, in which I highly recommend picking up.

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