When it comes to metal, the words “Heavy” and “Dark” are thrown around pretty liberally, almost to the point of saturation. Metal is by its very nature dark and heavy, so when journalists, myself included, throw these terms at, it usually comes across as lazy writing. However, on occasion, a band releases an album that encapsulates heaviness and darkness, not because they’re a metal band but simply because they’ve managed to truly capture all that is heavy and all that is dark, without falling into cliché’s.
True Widow is one of those bands. It’s hard to define their sound. At their heart, they a metal band with doom, sludge and drone influences. But there’s something more to them, I’ve heard the terms “Shoegaze”, “Post-Metal”, “Alt-Metal” and even “Trip-Hop” thrown out when describing the band, and while there are elements of all those, none of this truly captures their sound. As such, I will simply fall back on those clichéd terms “Heavy” and Dark.”
I’m sort of reminded of Across Tundras, albeit a little heavier. The album has slightly Americana/western sound but with the droning, repetitive riffs and bass; the simple rhythmic drumming and the brooding, hypnotic male/female vocals, “Circumambulation” becomes a very atmospheric album. Listening to it is like a journey a very dark and dreary wasteland, full of despair, but even within the darkness, there’s warmth to the music that makes that journey well worth it.
This is simply a beautiful album, one that will likely be at the top of many best of 2013 lists.
“Circumambulation” is available now at Relapse Records.
PHOTOS BY Alison V Smith