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Evolution Through Pain - 95%

GuntherTheUndying, February 10th, 2013

"Hatred For Mankind" sounds like beating someone to death with a crowbar; "Widowmaker" sounds like the cruel realization that such atrocities will never be outgrown. Dragged Into Sunlight earned a well-deserved following some years after their ravenous, bloodthirsty full-length debut album entitled "Hatred For Mankind" preached its devilish poison to an evaporating extreme metal crowd that longed for more than just blast beats and guttural vocals. The blackened death/doom metal texture found throughout Dragged Into Sunlight's breakout left many gnawing their fingers in anticipation for what would come next. Now, the most important thing to understand about "Widowmaker" is that it isn't a continuation of "Hatred For Mankind." "Widowmaker" is something entirely different. Granted, this is undeniably Dragged Into Sunlight, but a redefined Dragged Into Sunlight; a Dragged Into Sunlight with a new agenda.

"Hatred For Mankind" is all about unrelenting rage and hatred, boiling up from eruptive musicianship and unmatched intensity; not so much here. When "Widowmaker" opens the first of its three doors, a little surprise awaits: "Part I" is merely a nimbus of eerie guitar chords singing a song of impending doom and despair, crawling through repetitive clusters of atmosphere and summoning occasional spurts of diaphanous violins, piano sections, and audio samples about killing and humanity's dark nature. It runs for nearly fifteen minutes; no heavy riffs or expected insanity. "Part II" and "Part III" tear down the thin film covering the introduction and reveal a Dragged Into Sunlight that appears somewhat transmuted from its previous incarnation: the band grinds through a variety of butchering, mega-heavy riffs with the faceless throat of their guttural vocalist leading the charge. These final cuts—the first running up to almost twelve minutes and the other thirteen—largely remain mid-paced and gloomy, seldom exploding into pure cannibalistic brutality, but boldly venture into uncharted territory.

These components together create a listening experience that at first made me stop and ask, "That's it?" Where's the paralyzing antipathy and revulsion? Where's the straight-forward bludgeoning? The blast beats? The non-stop violence? These aspects are largely suppressed throughout "Widowmaker," and although adapting this alteration was a bit difficult, it turned out to be an impressive transaction. "Widowmaker" sounds not like an experiment, but an evolution; a natural progression not forced by outside factors. "Part II" and "Part III" both have themes that are carefully calculated and magnificently crafted, preaching a multitude of malevolent riffs and shattering instrumentation. That huge introduction? It's the best part of the record! Creepy, miserable, disturbing and harrowing only begin to describe its might.

Yes, "Widowmaker" is a very strange and prodigious album, and yes, only a chosen few will truly understand its words, but "Widowmaker" goes beyond "Hatred for Mankind" and pushes Dragged Into Sunlight's abysmal vision into realms past utter misery. This isn't a grand bamboozling of the ages; this is an excellent group challenging the creative elements of extreme metal and demanding an elaboration of its existence, making it justify its very essence. "Widowmaker" needs not your approval and couldn't care less if you like it or not; it's an album that runs on its own terms and laws. Dragged Into Sunlight is an uprising within the DNA of extreme metal; let your ears witness the evolution.

This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com