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Album Review: TRUE WIDOW Circumambulation

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1990 called, it wants more doom! But don't worry, that's a good thing. From the streets of Dallas comes True Widow, a band known for its dark, dreamy fusion of stoner rock and shoegaze, the long lost drone/haze of bands like My Bloody Valentine, which peaked at the dawn at the 1990's and disappeared behind the dual waves of Grunge and Brit-Pop.

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But now that a follow-up to Loveless has finally been released, its only proper that a fresh, new band come along as an ambassador to the "Loud Rock" community, and what better label than Relapse? Circumambulation's sonic foundation has both the shoe-gaze feel and tinges of The Melvins (at their most subdued), Earth, Sonic Youth, and SubRosa to go around. But don't let any of this lead you to think of True Widow's sound as completely derivative. On the contrary, the band have a very rich, compelling sound of their own.

There are many ways one could try and describe the sound of Circumambulation, but I think I have a good idea, so let me give it a shot. Imagine a Saturday evening, in one of those musty basements you and your buddies used to jam in when you started your first band, you're kind of tossing ideas back and forth as the sun goes down…and it's a little cold outside, you decide to go for a walk. Whatever it is that made you decide to go for that walk, that's what the album sounds like. Or just picture this, Kevin Sheilds is walking down the street and is suddenly mugged by Buzz Osbourne and Dylan Carlson…very, very slowly.

As should be obvious already, this is a slow, contemplative record. And while I definitely would not call the music boring (at all), it's true the sound does call for a certain mood or setting. But it's a sound that rewards multiple listens, as there are several things you might miss on first listen. Funny that the album should come out in July, as it seems to have October written all over it. And while a certain type of reader may listen to this record and think "wtf!? this not metal!! what do on metal site?!?!", the dark, brooding dirge of "Trollstigen" and the steady, catchy-as-hell groove of "Four Teeth" should give heavy music fans of all shades a lot to like. At the same time, people who find themselves more on the alternative-rock and shoegaze end of the spectrum will have a lot to look forward to here with the spacey "HW:R" and the plodding "S:H:S".

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True Widow has quite an array of tools in its arsenal: lots of great riffs, thoughtful songwriting, and a pair of talented vocalists in DH Phillips and Nicole Estill. The pair create an interesting contrast between the near-deadpan of Phillips and the softer tones of Estill, who's voice has a distinct, almost Kim Deal-feel to it. The band has a reputation for touring with all types of bands, which gives them a lot of potential for bringing often disparate audiences together. I couldn't think of a better diplomatic statement than Circumambulation.

8/10

Favorite Songs: "Creeper", "Four Teeth", "Numb Hand", "Trollstigen"

PS- For those of you interested in reading two bloggers argue about the merits of Shoegaze Metal, check out the debate between Noisey and MetalSucks

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