True Widow – Avvolgere (Relapse)

Friday, 4th November 2016
Rating: 7.5/10

Nestled somewhere between the fuzzed-out tones of stoner rock and deeper-down drone of shoegaze lies Dallas’s True Widow. As if more evidence was needed to show how differentiated Relapse’s roster currently is, here is a band with virtually nil metallic undertones, sort of the modern day equivalent to the alternative bands who hung on the outskirts of mainstream grunge during the ‘90s. But that’s where we are with metal and hard rock these days. Everyone is welcome, apparently.

On their fourth album, Avvolgere (that’s Italian for “to wrap”), the Texans plod a seriously monotonous, almost lazy path. As is the case with shoegaze, the idea is to sound as uninterested as possible while sounding melancholic. And while True Widow doesn’t have such a front, they do manage to cobble together some foggy numbers such as opener “Black Shredder” and “Entheogen,” which works because of its echo-y vocals and melodic drag. Female vocals (courtesy of bassist Nicole Estill) made headway on “The Trapper and the Trapped,” resulting in the album’s best push-and-pull cut, while the all-acoustic “To All that He Elong” resonates with a haunting sheen.

Virtually all of Avvolgere is soaked in grey. Dull, depressing, hypnotic grey, if you will. At face value, True Widow come across like a backdoor, almost too convenient entry into shoegaze/alternative rock, when in reality, there’s a swell of support behind a band who writes deceptively simple songs. Perhaps that’s what Relapse sees in ‘em.

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