And yet again we’ve fallen into the widow’s web.
Thinking in terms of linear genre definitions, there’s a laundry list of artists that consider their toes dipped in two pools, so to speak. True Widow definitely occupy space on that list. Their self described “stonegaze” melds slowcore, much like that of early ’90s outfit Codeine, with a gaze comparable to fellow Texans Ringo Deathstarr. This is melded along with sludgy stoner metal like Sourvein. Such defining factors have caused tensions for metal purists regarding the actuality of True Widow’s heavy clout and their new album, Avvolgere, may serve as the purists’ proof.
Being True Widow’s fourth studio LP, Avvolgere is indicative of their traveled lengths since their 2008 self titled debut and even since they signed over to Relapse Records. Circumambulation was their first Relapse release and this newest dose pick ups where it left off, but with a slight shift in instrumental attention.
Right off the bat, “Back Shredder” comes in with a drum beat simplistic in its dramatics, coupled with Dan Phillips’ lethargic take on vocals to create a dazed, hypnotized effect that has become signature of True Widow’s sound.
What’s interesting to note with Avvolgere is how they’ve adjusted the prevalence of certain elements without severely deviating from the True Widow path. The trio have always relied on the standard guitar-bass-drums formula with guitar almost always taking the lead (which, shred wise, helped to further establish their metaldom), but now bass plays the most important string role, with drums and guitar its respect second and third.
“F.W.T.S:L.T.M” and “The Trapper & the Trapped” are prime examples of this, the latter of which being the album’s introduction to the beautiful relationship that is Phillips’ and bassist Nicole Estill’s vocals. Actually, Estill should get more credit for her singing, as its added element elevates the album. Her takeover on the acoustic track “To All that He Elong” introduces haunt, much like Myrkur. Same for “Sante,” where she leads the album into its strongest foray into dark shoegazey tendencies. Overall, Avvolgere holds up as a great release. It’s True Widow doing what True Widow does best – questionable slowcore.