Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker (Prosthetic Records)

CD | LP | DL

Due out 5th Nov 2012

This is brutal; the aural equivalent of staring into a blackened void; sounds from the depths of whatever hell your fetid imagination dares to conjure up…

Dragged Into Sunlight have insisted that Widowmaker€™ is not to be considered a follow-up to their 2010 debut Hatred For Mankind€™ which itself is due for re-issue.

The band remain shrouded in mystery, their individual identities unknown, and any images of them has them with faces covered; they offer little explanation regarding the lyrical content of their music all we could get from them in relation to Widowmaker€™ was €œeverything heavier and everything louder than everything else” with “an oppressing overtone of complete misery, depression, and isolation”

Widowmaker was produced by Tom Dring during three recording sessions over the course of the last two years and includes additional guitars by an unnamed member of UK cult metal band BOSSK. Widowmaker is gruelling – a 40-minute journey into object misery, and as such is true to Dragged Into Sunlight’ previous form…the album consists of just one piece€“ I hesitate to describe this as music, as this will challenge all but the most open minded as to the concept of music. That said there are definable sound structures within this complex piece; the fact that it is 40 minutes in length reaffirms the bands intention that you as the listener gorge on this as a whole there is no benefit in grabbing a few snatched minutes here and there, to try to engage with €˜Widowmaker€™ like that would be to sell it short listen as an entirety; granted its dark, it’s at times deeply unsettling and it will demand your attention and will prompt physical reaction.

The initial segment opens with minimal guitar and torturously builds into a darkly atmospheric bass driven rumble complete with shards of guitar and both piano and violin you are carried to where your own imagination demands; re-visiting fears from childhood, desolation, perhaps isolation as the layers of sound slowly engulf you; you know you are in someplace dangerous, but in some Stockholm Syndrome style reaction you begin to settle.

That’s when Widowmaker really raises the ante; a sampled voice Killing is killing whether done for duty, profit or fun men murder themselves into this democracy and suddenly an explosion of sound pummels you into a corner, waves of aural violence, treated voice struggling to be heard over the sludge-core rhythms before the pace evolves yet again into unforgiving brutal guitar riffs, thunderously taut drum patterns crashing symbols and voices from the very depths of hell this is an intense, truly exhausting experience.

 

There is an all too brief moment of respite marking the final segment then it’s back to the sonic terror- though this is perhaps the entire albums must recognisably musical section; black crusted driving riffs, stuttering drums and then yet again a sudden switch in pace into doom territory, cloying shards of sound ensnare you forcing you deeper into the mire, the sound takes on elements of SUNN O))) but this is no mere plagiarism, Dragged Into Sunlight have carefully created an all encompassing album of sensory overload after 33 minutes we have come full circle, a return to the minimal guitar; a chance to grab a few snatches of breath, an opportunity to reflect, to try and understand quite what you have just experienced … don’t be fooled though, just as you glimpse an escape Dragged Into Sunlight unleash a savage finale of raging intensity with the sample will go right back to doing what I did before…kill kids” amongst the sonic punishment.

Then silence … it takes a few moments to realise that the album has finished€“ Dragged Into Sunlight have created a genuinely disturbing masterpiece, and what’s more disturbing is that as individuals they walk amongst us, unchecked, their identities unknown and that is maybe a little dangerous.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent, excellent review. Perfectly sums up what is an utter masterpiece on every level. Definitely one of the most harrowing listening experiences imaginable and one to be approached with extreme caution, thought for those brave and open-minded enough to proceed, compelling and totally unique.

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