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Released: 2003, Tribunal Records
Ever wonder what to do if some hot virgin chic becomes possessed by a foul demon? Consult a manual on exorcism and you’ll be surprised to learn that the only way to expel the beast is for a priest to go down on her until she cums the bastard out. I myself did not know this until I recently consulted an authority on the matter. The authority I speak of is the band Widow and that particular lesson is covered in the opening track from their debut album, MIDNIGHT STRIKES! Man, I wonder if it’s too late for me to become a priest!
Widow is a band hailing from my home state, the great state of North Carolina. Formed in the winter of 2000, the band drew on the inspiration they gleaned from classic metal outfits like Maiden, Priest, King Diamond and Malmsteen and then mixed it with their fascination for horror movies. Sounds like a great combination, does it not? When my copy of MIDNIGHT STRIKES! arrived in the mail it included a promo picture and some stickers proclaiming the band motto as “If you don’t like us, you don’t like metal!” After numerous spins over the course of several weeks, all I can say to that motto is “amen and hallelujah brothers!”
Most of the songs on MIDNIGHT STRIKES! are lyrically based around horror themes ranging from exorcism to witchcraft. That may sound a little cheesey, but it works well because the vocal delivery isn’t wussified and the music is fast and heavy. Musically the band most reminds me of classic Maiden, with dual guitar harmonies and galloping bass lines. Malmsteen gets a nod throughout as well, since there are some neo-classical moments of guitar-shredding bliss.
The album starts with a shitkicker in “The Pleasure of Exorcism.” The track begins with a girl breathing heavily as the sound of thunder rolls and an acoustic guitar plays “Tubular Bells” (think The Exorcist) in the background. When that bit of drama reaches it’s apex, lightning strikes and the song kicks into high gear with a speed metal assault backed by bass lines ripped straight from the Steve Harris school of playing. The vocals are mostly clean, but when the demon speaks the vocals switch to a sort of black metal shriek. This vocal mix continues through most of the album as well. In fact, the entire album is fast and heavy with no ballads to muck things up.
If I have any complaints about this album, it would be that the vocals need some work and the album drags in the latter half. Though Widow is imperfect at this point, this band appears to have “it.” I don’t know how to define “it” in any tangible sense, I just know “it” when I hear “it.” Few bands have “it” and most never even get a sniff, despite years of toil. As soon as they play my hometown, I’ll be able to confirm or deny this with greater conviction, but with more time spent on dedication to the craft, these guys should be making a much bigger name for themselves soon.
Highlights: The Pleasure of Exorcism, Witch Way, Angel Sin, Reunion
Genre References: Traditional Metal, Speed Metal, Neo-classical Metal
1. The Pleasure Of Exorcism
2. Witch Way
3. Angel Sin
5. Inside The Sign
6. No Stone Unturned
7. Empire Of Thorns
Cristof - lead guitars, vocals
Tim - drums
Joshua - bass
John E. - lead vocals, guitars
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