I rather enjoyed Dragged Into Sunlight’s debut, a poisonous mixture of sludge, death and black metal that was suffused with ugliness at every level. I was looking forward to Widowmaker building on that sound and taking it in new directions. Sadly, with this sophomore release Dragged into Sunlight have turned out an album I desperately want to like but can’t. Widowmaker is a long dull mess of an album.
Widowmaker consists of three separate studio sessions bolted together into an album of sorts. The music has a consistently improvisational feel in the worst possible sense of the word. I’m a huge fan of bands who take an organic approach to songwriting and whose work is obtuse, often willfully obscure and difficult, and it feels as Dragged into Sunlight are attempting to take a similarly unstructured approach to their material. Unfortunately, what emerges from this lack of structure is dull – deeply and soullessly dull. Not repetitive and punishing like a Sleep riff pulverising you into submission over half an hour, but repetitive and empty like a band without any real idea of what they’re doing in the same room together jamming on riffs to fill in time between medication refills.
The first nine minutes are ultra minimalist, consisting of a long, jangling intro riff that plods away repetitively over a quiet drone and murmuring ambient noises. A badly played violin is introduced after nine minutes and saws away enthusiastically. It adds an interesting dynamic to what is otherwise a spectacularly boring opening to a record. Guitar and bass resolutely refuse to do anything remotely interesting, and even the addition of deeper textures can’t do anything to make the listening experience anything other than mildly irritating.
At a quarter of an hour in some drums and screaming and a proper riff kick in. None of the components are anything to write home about, and after a fifteen minute intro it feels particularly disappointing. The record drifts from mediocre riff to mediocre riff for the next twenty minutes. Sometimes its a slow boring sludge riff with screaming, other times its a faster boring death metal riff with deeper vocals, but there’s simply nothing remotely new or interesting going on. It’s just a sequence of disparate and not particularly good ideas uncomfortably jammed together without a thought for overall structure.
It gives me no pleasure to disparage Dragged into Sunlight. They’re an underground band trying to make good music. They’ve just failed miserably. It’s possible that other people may enjoy this record, as there is at least an attempt to create a dark oppressive atmosphere that could conceivably appeal. For me, however, this is a horrible mess of an album trying to hide its creative failings behind a mask of underground grimness.
Dragged Into Sunlight’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/draggedintosunlight