REVIEW: Dragged Into Sunlight’s Widowmaker

Dragged Into Sunlight sounds like that thing you do to kill a vampire. The sound of the band, Dragged Into Sunlight (or DIS) could probably kill as well. It would kill complacency, mediocrity and ennui.

Today, DIS released Widowmaker. This new concept recording retains all the intensity and horror of their 2009 debut album, Hatred for Mankind, but the mood has shifted.  Hatred was full of venom and bile, as the name might suggest. Widowmaker starts out with a melancholy and almost suicidal movement. There’s a violin; what a nice surprise. But will this recording crush me like their debut effort?

Dragged Into Sunlight: Not here to rob you. 

By the second movement of the recording, DIS reprises a bit of the brutality that reminds me of Hatred. This time, however, the composition seems refined, more restrained and much more structured, with recognizable hooks and phrasing. Again, I loved Hatred, but I am also loving Widowmaker, for completely different reasons. It still sounds like DIS, it just sounds a little less like noise rock. OK, what else do you have for me?

The final movement of the recording is a full return to the asphyxiating doomage of Dragged Into Sunlight’s first record. Shrill vocals (to make it black metally) slice through the cacophony of guitar distortion and droning bass. It’s almost as if DIS has tempted you with some bitter sweet candy, lured you into the woods for a “picnic” and here in the final movement of the recording, they will molest and strangle you, looking you straight the eye while you gasp for air under the crushing riffs.  The drums are your heart struggling to keep beating as life fades away into the quietus and resignation of the recordings final measures.  Your body will be found in a shallow grave covered by autumn leaves, while the murderer exits thoughtfully contemplating his next kill.

Widomaker, with its three distinct movements, should be consumed in one sitting. It is a thoroughly satisfying, if not disturbing, representation of this subgenre of metal.

Decide for yourself whether you like the new Dragged Into Sunlight recording. Widomaker is streaming here for your aural pleasure.

I first encountered DIS when I was writing up profiles on every band slated to perform at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. A member of the band agreed to answer some of my questions. Even from the minimal interaction derived from an email q & a, I could tell that this British blackened doom outfit, who remain anonymous, maintained a good sense of humor about themselves–a morbid, blackened sense of humor–but a sense of humor nonetheless. They did not take themselves overly seriously, except as far as they wanted to be superior musicians and excellent songwriters. That’s a fine way to be and probably part of the reason they try to remain anonymous and lead normal lives outside of band life.

You can read my interview with DIS here. It is among the most popular blog posts I have done. I hope DIS comes back to the US again sometime soon. I honestly tried to watch as much of their set as possible at MDF, but I had to leave the room because of the heat and the smoke machines they like to use. 

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