Widow – On Fire Review

I love old school metal. Whenever I start to get bored with the metal scene, I can pop in an album like The Legacy or Eternal Nightmare and I’m immediately reminded of why I love this music. Now, we see a lot of bands today are trying to bring that sound back. Shadows Fall and Lamb of God attempt to invoke the spirits of the old school, and while I enjoy their music for what it is, it’s just not the same. On the other hand, we have bands like Widow, who have their old school hearts in the right place but just can’t deliver the goods, neither spiritually or musically.

When I started researching this band prior to review, I found it difficult to discern much about the band’s history, or even its lineup. They appeared to have a female vocalist, which I thought would make for some interesting moments, but mostly makes for some groan-ably bad song titles (“The Preacher’s Daughter”, “Sinderella”, “Misstery”). Moreover, she shares her duties with the band’s two male guitarists. I’d use their names, but since they don’t see fit to include hers anywhere, I won’t include theirs here. While the death vocals do add something to the mix, overall, having three vocalists seems like a bit of overkill here – the music really doesn’t call for it.

Speaking of the music, it’s hard to find any real fault there. The guitarists have obviously studied (and worshipped) at the feet of guitar gods like Yngwie Malmsteen, Tipton/Downing, and Smith/Murray (or Murray/Gers, or Smith/Gers, etc.). The tracks here are filled with slick guitar leads and blazing solos, which seem to be the songs’ focal points. The music around them, though, fails to excite, almost as if the band wrote these songs just to show off how well they can shred. The music gets no help from the production, which attempts to complete the band’s old school feel, but mostly makes the recording sound amateurish and of demo quality.

I still love metal, and old school metal – regardless of the band’s MySpace page declaration of “If you don’t like us, you don’t like metal!”, but when you have old school bands like Testament, Exodus, and Death Angel still going strong, and bands like Hatework and Slough Feg properly giving modern flavor to the classic sound, it’s hard to justify purchasing this one. Maybe the band should go back and listen to their early/mid-80s metal albums again and really study what made them so great before going back to the drawing board. They have the talent, it just needs to be harnessed.

Posted by Dave Pirtle

Coffee. Black.

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