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Dragged Into Sunlight’s Widowmaker is an experiment in patience. A work that needs to be fully experienced. When taken in segments it’s parts are not the sum of the whole, a mild poison at best, that causes an irritating disturbance, a mild rash, blurred vision and a fever. But if the listener takes the 39 minutes to absorb the full aural blast of Parts I,II and III, the results are absolutely devastating. Body convulsions and most likely mortality.
The album starts slowly with the utterly depressive Part I, an intro so to speak, but if given a full examination, a song that while not necessarily very metal makes for a chilling listen. The song is basically a few repeated chords, starting very slowly, but adding more and more detail, a few well placed wood strings, piano keys and an eerie vocal sample describing the quenching of a human life. It starts building tremendous power at the half way point climaxing right before the beginning of Part II. The best way of experiencing Part I is on cold autumn or winter day. As the weak winter sun slowly dies on the pale purple horizon of a cold dusk and then finally slips into night, so does the feeling of life around you. The casual listener may dismiss this and even be frustrated at the slow build up, but once realized what sheer beauty and absolute misery this creates, one’s feeling towards Widowmaker grow. The only thing that takes away from Part I is the final sample. Had they simply stayed with the one early sample, this track would be a beautiful masterpiece.
Part II is sheer auditory destruction when compared to the brooding Part I. Heavy chords and vocals that remind of Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick start the song. They slice through the soul like sharp daggers. Another sample awaits; one more tale of psychotic murder and misanthropic self absorption. The sample fades and we are treated to the heaviest portion of the album so far. The vocals shift from a proto Godflesh like sound to one akin to Frank Mullen or other brutal death metal greats. Then from out of nowhere they take on an early Napalm Death Lee Dorian feel. This band is definitely a combination of genres, death/black/doom/grind are all present, and this characteristic gives this UK based 4 piece a true chameleon nature. The remainder of the song absolutely destroys everything in its path, like a slow but crushing coastal wake crashing upon the unsuspecting shore being pushed by a giant sea beast, further and further into the listeners psyche as the landscape begins falling off into a darkened abyss. Again more samples, this time the rather annoying “Hippie cult leader” sample. The last 2 minutes after this sample the song pushes deeper into the far reaching landscape until nothing behind or in front of it is left. Vast churning waters, covering the lifeless weak below.
Part III is a similar continuation of Part II. While not as powerful in its early stages, it starts very slow with a ton of reverberated guitar, then it almost stops at the 2:44 minute mark with distorted bass over yet another sample. This sample fits the concept rather well and makes up for the last sample from Part II. At this point one has to wonder why Part II and III were even separated by the band, as they share too much of the same genetic makeup, and are so far removed from Part I, that taken as a concept two parts would have made the most logic here. Part III picks up speed again and then comes to an almost complete stop again at about the 6:02 minute mark. A semi clean riff leads the listener for a good 2 minutes and then breaks into clean riffing over nice drum fills and china crashes. Just enough time for the listener to try to catch their breath during the calm that accompanies the eye of the storm, but the tempest roars back to life and the killer wave that was adjacent to the calm eye immediately breaks over you and pulls you back under. Then it mercilessly spreads your lifeless corpse across the devastated landscape as the most disturbing sample of the trilogy fills your fading soul.
This is Widowmaker in a nutshell. Earlier I mentioned that Widowmaker, when not taken as a whole, can be an irritating experience. It most definitely is, and long time fans sure must feel cheated by this output. But there is also redeeming value here if taken compounded.Of course about 50% of the sample clips are very grating, especially the ones mentioned at the end of Part I and the late sample in Part II. The album ends too suddenly, the metal songs don't necessarily ever reach that climax one expects so eagerly either.
While by no means perfect DIS have definitely created an interesting, but polarizing work here, which is definitely genre crossing, and not for the faint of heart or the easily distracted. One sees bits of industrial, grindcore, black metal and death metal all swirling together in one giant vortex and if one of these are your fancy, it is well worth the price of admission.