The concept of hate and misanthropy is one easily flung about by many metal bands, so much so that it’s difficult to really feel the coarse hatred for all living things in some bands’ lyrics, artwork and aesthetics, and general approach to all of these things. Liverpool’s Dragged into Sunlight are an example of a band whose misanthropy and bile fuelled aggression is nothing but true, and with that, so palpable. Their first album, Hatred for Mankind, may seem like a clichéd album title but here’s a band that truly do despise what their world is becoming. Since that album’s release in 2009, this hatred could only grow and mutate into more wretched forms. Forms evidenced now by this imposing piece of work – Widowmaker.
Widowmaker is a 41 minute long journey into the abyss, a staggering piece of doomed out blackened chaos. The band takes their black metal aesthetics, and the influences it brings, and warps it into an even more harrowing tale that takes in sludgy doom and even elements of post rock, though the latter is tenuous.
Despite its overt misanthropy, Widowmaker is still a viciously ambitious and adventurous record, right from the opening notes. The first 15 minutes of this oeuvre act merely as an unnerving calm before the unparalleled storm erupts around us all. Desolate clean guitars gently trod along, interrupted sporadically by low key pianos that ooze that horror film score feel, soon joined by the equally distressing playing of a string section.
Eventually we are plummeted into the unknown, the scary unknown, where some of the heaviest riffs of the year coming thundering through the speakers along with searing, deathly vocals that simply sound possessed. Juddering guitars then take control of this world that twists and turns into horrific shapes and forms that constantly throws new horrors your way.
After the 30 minute mark, the scorching vocals soon wither away into a bleak instrumental passage that strips Widowmaker down into another wretched and unsettling calm. It leaves only a brief reprieve for rest though, as another thundering angular hail of riffing erupts with reckless abandon.
The invigorating closing minutes then feel totally at odds with the general modus operandi of Dragged into Sunlight. While still corrosively abhorrent and scornful, the climactic conclusion is altogether empowering, with a sleek dusting of chilling melody abounding. It makes for an uncanny close to what is Dragged into Sunlight’s finest hour… or 41 minutes, rather.