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True Widow – As High As The Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of The Earth

May 2, 2011 by  

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True Widow  – As High As The Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of The Earth

NAME: True Widow
ALBUM: As High As The Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of The Earth
DATE: 2May2011

LABEL: Kemado Records


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Gloomy, dirge like distortion rock


LINE UP: Dan Phillips guitar, Nicole Estill bass, Timothy Starks drums


WHAT’S THE STORY?: From its release in 2008 their self titled debut album has helped raise some substantial anticipation for the new album from True Widow, for many a long overdue release. From the title alone, As High As The Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of The Earth, you know the Dallas based trio are not your run of the mill intentioned bands and from first track it is obvious that individuality of thought applies to music and genre too. This is my first introduction to True Widow but I am reliably informed that the same ingredients that made the debut well received are in place on the follow up too. The band has self labelled themselves stonegaze, with possibly tongues firmly placed in cheeks, but they are as true to stoner metal or shoe gaze sounds as they are to sludge or slow core which is pretty little, rather they are an amalgam of all the dark, desolate, and dirge like distortions from all of the above and elsewhere.

From midway through opening track ‘Jackyl’ I was not sure of my feelings towards the sound and by the end of final track ‘Doomser’ for the fourth back to back complete play through I am still not sure. Each track oozes from the speakers like a viscous fluid slowly consuming and drowning the listener in sound and distortion and on the first song is intriguing. The vocals of Nicole Estill have a soothing ethereal contrast to the grasping heavy sounds, her dirty monosyllabic bass providing the hook that pulls you in to the track. The drums of Timothy Stark are subdued but strong enough to hold a frame for the scuzzy sounds of the bass and Dan Phillips guitar, with it all being enhanced by a complimentary murky garage production. ‘ Blooden Horse’ follows on with the same structure and attack with Phillip’s vocals taking the lead but with the same smooth haunting feel. This is basically the substance of every track on the album and apart from some obvious variations; stunning bass riffs from the fine bassist that is Estill, small changes of pace, and the clever lyrical content, overall the feel and sound rarely changes. Though this sounds like a big negative it really is not but neither is it a striking positive. ‘ Skull Eyes’, the best track for me, being quite stirring within its slightly more urgent attack, ‘Wither’ sounding like a darker Jesus and Mary Chain, and the almost Deftones metal feel of ‘Night Witches’, are very enjoyable and satisfying and elsewhere really there is not a bad track on ‘As High As The Heavens…..’. One cannot escape the fact though, unless this really is your flavour, that before completing a complete run through of the album the nine tracks with their Joy Division like repetitive formations of notes and chords all merge to create one massive swirl of scuzzy noise though punctuated by some neat melodies and smooth soft vocals. Even the vocals by the latter part of the album seemingly lose their uniqueness no matter which of the two are taking the lead. On the other hand though taken out of the album context and played well apart the tracks work well and earn a deserved better opinion of them.

‘As High As The Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of The Earth’ is a strange beast to recommend, well no I do recommend it, but just suggest you think how you want to listen to it. Obviously it is meant to be heard as a complete package but for many, myself included, it will be a much more enjoyable experience dissecting the release into individual parts and listening as if a bunch of separate tunes. True Widow give appealing gravelly bass riffs, distorted melodies, and guitar sounds as well as enticing harmonic vocals, with nothing truly worthy of criticism, its only problem for me is coping with it all over forty five continuous minutes, maybe you will fare better.

SOUNDS LIKE: Jesus and Mary Chain,Deftones, Codeine

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: you can stand firm in the face of distorted sludgey dark slow grooves.


Submitted By Pete RingMaster



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