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True Widow mesmerizes listeners with sophomore album

For fans of rock, one of the most satisfying experiences can be listening to a guitarist peel off on a solo riff and take over a track. However, True Widow utilizes a different, equally mesmerizing style on their newest album, “As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth,” which drops on March 29.

Verbose title aside, the band’s follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut album has a haunting tone the whole way through, combining heavy guitar melodies with drifty vocals.

The Dallas-based trio is comprised of guitarist Dan “DH” Phillips, bassist Nicole Estill and drummer Slim Texas, with Phillips and Estill taking over singing duties as well.

The band describes their style as “stonegaze,” and it’s easy to see why. Their songs have a very mellow feel and it’s easy to get lost in any of the tracks. It’s sort of a slowcore sound with elements of rock and metal thrown into the mix.

“Blooden Horse” is a great example of what True Widow does on the album. A steady, weighty guitar line pervades the track, rumbling throughout as Phillips joins in with his vocals. He doesn’t really sing over the melody, though, rather it’s more like his voice joins in with the instruments.

It’s a different experience when Estill takes over on vocals, however. While Phillips’s voice becomes one with the track, Estill’s is more detached. Her sections tend to be more floaty, set apart from the melody under it.

Both work well on “As High as the Highest Heavens,” and though neither has much in the way of range or diversity, when they combine and harmonize as they do on “Skull Eyes,” it’s wonderful to listen to. Their vocal styles compliment each other nicely and it would have been nice to see even more of that.

“As High as the Highest Heavens” is pretty consistent throughout the whole album. I’d hate to say that each track sounds the same because it’s a simplistic statement and unfair to the effort the band clearly put into the record, but there’s not a whole lot of diversity on the album either. It’s a compilation of heavy guitar, deep tones, slow pacing and floating vocals with the band only straying from that formula a couple times.

Still, it’s what the band knows and what it does best. True Widow’s stonegaze style may not be for everybody, but quite honestly it may be difficult to know or understand before listening to it for yourself.

“As High as the Highest Heavens” is a hypnotic listen from open to close and definitely worth a look.

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