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True Widow - "As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth" (CD)

True Widow - "As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth" CD cover image

"As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth" track listing:

1. Jackyl (5:50)
2. Blooden Horse (7:04)
3. NH (6:39)
4. Skull Eyes (3:44)
5. Wither (5:09)
6. Boaz (7:21)
7. Night Witches (3:15)
8. Interlude (:55)
9. Doomseer (9:06)

Reviewed by on March 27, 2011

"True Widow forces the listener into a dreamy trance, with enough distortion to give the songs an edgy feel. "

If one was to categorize True Widow, shoegaze or post-rock/metal may be appropriate tags. However, at no point in the band’s sophomore album, “As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth,” does the band slip into a comfort zone with their sound. This music is meant to get a reactions of sorts that goes beyond conventional hair twirling or raising of the hands in a devil-horn position. True Widow forces the listener into a dreamy trance, with enough distortion to give the songs an edgy feel.

These tracks are not about just getting to an end-point, but the journey it takes to get there. The rumbling bass, simplistic drum beats, soothing female/male vocal dynamic, hypnotic guitar riffs; not eye-popping by themselves, but a stylistic force when put together. “NH” is a jolting rush that picks the heaviness up and works the best using the dual vocals. Both of them compliment each other nicely, though the second half sees less of this, as the male vocals take over. The female vocals are dominant on the first couple of songs, so there is a balance in that aspect.

The trio of musicians involved put in a restrained performance, not outdoing each other. An album with a rich atmosphere like this would have been tampered by any other approach. The hesitance shown makes for a laid-back, controlled pace. The only exception to this is the forceful tempos of “Skull Eyes” and “Night Witches.” The majority of the record is like the nine-minute “Doomseer:” epic, deep, and fulfilling.

With all the effort spent on an immerse environment, the band suffers the pitfalls of monotony. The songs start to sound similar near the end, with the same lulling melodies and floaty vocals. The distinction between each song is very minuscule, save for an acoustic interlude and a well-mannered guitar lead on “Boaz.” One of the best parts, as mentioned above, is the male/female vocal interplay. It’s only used on a few tracks; some more harmonies would have punched up the back half of the album.

“As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth” has a lot going for it besides the wordy title. The band maintains a slow-burning stance that they do little to break away from. It’s a double-edged sword, benefiting the atmosphere and sacrificing variety. The album hasn’t clicked with this reviewer yet, but there is a good chance that it may happen in the future. If it does, that’s when the real joy will be revealed. That alone makes the record worth trying out, though with definite hesitation.

Highs: Album takes the listener on a journey, male and female vocals are well done, atmosphere is palpable

Lows: Very slow pace may turn some off, takes a while to click, male/female vocal dynamic is underplayed

Bottom line: A deep album meant to be appreciated over time, not digested in short bursts.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)