Widow – Life’s Blood
I know I almost always write positive reviews because I most often like what I listen to, but once in a while there will be an album that does basically nothing for me. Having reached their fourth full length release, Widow should have an idea of who they are at this point, and it seems they have chosen to be a mediocre heavy metal band with some power metal on the side. They are clearly aiming for a very 80’s sound with Life’s Blood, but they certainly can’t match the best of the classic metal bands from that time.
As far as the sound goes, the production is fairly solid except for the drums, which are too loud at points and can be distracting (especially during some solos when I’m trying to hear the guitar but the drums are getting in the way just a bit). Otherwise, there’s nothing technically wrong, as the songs are generally well played, and there are some good riffs and nice melodies, but nothing really stands out. Everything can be described as by the numbers traditional metal with modern production- except it lacks the spark of the greats, leaving it completely unremarkable. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy any of it, because there a few good songs to be found, but on an album with twelve songs, having just three songs I’ll ever want to hear again is not good.
The album starts out in one of the most generic and predictable ways possible with “Lady Twilight”, a song which shows exactly what to expect: Mostly mid-tempo riff driven songs, with some decent melodies and an overall classic feel to them. The highlights are the faster songs like “Take Hold of the Night” and “Embrace it”, which are both very fun energetic songs with catchy choruses. Too bad they blatantly rehashed the main riff of the latter on “I Scream For Ice Queen”, a song as original and as fun to listen to as the name is clever (not at all). The worst offenders are songs like “Behind the Light” and “Live Beyond”, where the music and vocals become so monotonous that if I wasn’t such a dedicated reviewer I’d have been hitting the skip button within two minutes for both songs. Even when the band tries to change things up with a power ballad in “Another Fallen Angel” it doesn’t work too well, because while the song itself could have been good, yet something about the way it’s sung just completely ruins it.
Which brings me to the vocals of John E. Wooten. If I were to describe him in one word, it would probably be ‘irritating”. He isn’t technically that bad a singer, as he hits all the notes and can mostly stay in tune, but man does his voice ever drive me insane! He happens to sound a little bit like James Hetfield, which alone is reason to be annoyed, except he’s somehow much whinier (Though at least he’s not THE TABLE!) Anyway, the aforementioned “Another Fallen Angel” and “Live Beyond” are where he’s at his worst. His voice becomes quite grating, and at the same time it’s very boring to listen to.
I’m sure some people will like this album, but for me it not only does nothing new, it fails to even do anything above average for the genre. Aside from the two highlights I mentioned plus “One I Know”, I really see no reason to listen to it when there are so many better options out there. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s simply mediocre and far too boring for me to care about. Actually, because there’s really nothing to feel with this kind of album, I even prefer bad albums, because at least with those you often get a comedy factor. With this, you’ll just get bored.
Travis Green’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5