By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 5/11/2012
Label: Prosthetic Records
‘Widowmaker’ reveals itself as a very different record to ‘Hatred for Mankind’ from the first listen. What takes time is the depth of what is on offer therein to reveal itself. From the first ominous twang of a clean yet eerie guitar the sound is bleak and sets a mood that is unrelenting- even when the music employs dynamic shifts and all kinds of instrumentation.
‘Widowmaker’ CD//DD track listing
1) Widowmaker (39:50)
In a time when everything is known about everyone and there is no sense of mystery about anything, Dragged into Sunlight are a dynamic blast of fresh/fetid air. Indeed, nothing is really known about the band- what is mentioned is mostly conjecture. Let it be said: this is a good thing. The band retains anonymity and lets the music speak for itself. When first reading about the new piece of music from Dragged into Sunlight some time ago it was described as a single track lasting 40mins plus. Indeed, the promo copy I have had on rotation is in this format. Research on Amazon indicates three tracks of 14.51, 11.47 and 13.10 in length respectively. I have found that the record works best when viewed as a single track- 40 minutes of tortured paranoid hate and despair. If that sounds like your kind of thing... Welcome aboard!
‘Widowmaker’ reveals itself as a very different record to ‘Hatred for Mankind’ from the first listen. What takes time is the depth of what is on offer therein to reveal itself. From the first ominous twang of a clean yet eerie guitar the sound is bleak and sets a mood that is unrelenting- even when the music employs dynamic shifts and all kinds of instrumentation. Four to five minutes in there are two guitar tracks building up an atmosphere that is the aural equivalent to watching the first series of Lynch's Twin Peaks. There is even a piano around the six minute mark. The first sign of any distortion comes at 8mins 20secs. An almost folk feel is created by cymbals and violin- and by that I do mean the good kind of folk. Think the feel of the seminal film The Wicker Man and you have the right idea. The samples of the first record are echoed over the first fifteen minutes but that is the only real comparison I can draw.
It may sound strange, but the first fifteen minutes fly past- the atmosphere, tension and feel of the record is introduced leads the way to what could be termed the second part of the album. A monolithic riff and the first scream herald in the next movement. The familiar horrific vocals over the music create a cacophony that is in stark contrast to the almost ambient first part of the record. A low death growl is introduced after more samples, creating another aspect and tonality for the listener. Just after twenty minutes an ascending/descending riff is introduced with other instruments buried low in the mix. The pounding double kick drums that were a great feature of their debut for me are back here. On headphones the whole thing sounds masterful and suffocatingly dense. There is even an almost stoner rock, Karma to Burn-esque feel around the twenty three minute mark. It doesn't last long, though, and instead gives way to a groove which in itself abruptly twists into doomy sludge, heralding in the third and final part of the record.
‘Part III’, beginning as it does with very slow sludge, is different again to the previous two parts. The bass, ringing out alone around thirty minutes in, offers up a kind of distorted mirror of ‘Part I's atmospherics, indeed the record almost feels as if it doubles back on itself. The band take us back to cleaner guitar tones but five minutes from the conclusion the riffs, distortion and crashing chords are back. The samples reach an apex for me as thirty eight minutes rolls past- you'll have to listen to it for yourself to find out what is said! After some frantic playing and vocals the whole thing dissolves into howling feedback and there the journey ends.
It is rare that a record of forty minutes feels this short. I can only conclude that a lot of work went into making this piece of music- the pacing, peaks and dynamics are all very well judged. It is an expertly paced soundscape that should be viewed as a whole. If you do this and invest the time in it you will be glad you did- the rewards are rich indeed!
‘Widowmaker’ is available here