Widow – Life’s Blood (Pure Steel Records)

Saturday, 23rd March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Quietly, North America has amassed a stock of worthy traditional metal bands, some of which are popping out some of their best work that no one knows about. Included in this batch are Twisted Tower Dire, While Heaven Wept, Cauldron, and the band in question, North Carolina’s Widow, who are returning after a four-year absence with Life’s Blood. A prime indicator that of how rapidly the American trad metal scene has grown, Life’s Blood is a sure-fire winner.

Culling from the prime works of the usual suspects like Maiden, Priest, and even Manowar, Widow grapple with arena-ready melodies and racy guitar leads throughout this 12-song offering. You’d have to be comatose to not find stock in “Take Hold of the Night,” a song bolstered by the fun and flighty vocals of John Wooten, who busts out one of the year’s more memorable choruses in this track. Not to be outdone, the punchy “Embrace It” and aggressive, but palpable “Behind the Light” are good enough to satiate those in search of relatively harmless metal anthems with teeth.

Twelve songs a bit too many for just about any album (minus grindcore, of course), so Life’s Blood teeters on the brink of wearing out its welcome toward the back-end. This is simply the result of being a band playing traditional metal – there’s only so much ground one can cover. Probably explains why Maiden kept all of their classic albums at eight songs. Not sure why more bands of this ilk don’t go that route…

A nice rebound from 2007’s marginal NightlifeLife’s Blood should give Widow a fresh lease life, and prompt their contemporaries to take a much harder and longer look at the trio. Beyond that, Life’s Blood ends up as one of 2011’s better entries into the traditional metal fray.

www.myspace.com/widow

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)