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Black Widow - Black Widow III  CD (album) cover

BLACK WIDOW III

Black Widow

 

Heavy Prog

3.50 | 36 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Leicester-based Black Widow were a talented progressive rock band who nevertheless went the way of many other groups who, basically, had the problem of NOT being YES, ELP or GENESIS in the early-to-mid 1970's. The popularity of the genre's top acts meant that smaller, less-well-known groups such as BLACK WIDOW were more-or-less ignored despite the quality of the music they were producing, showing just how tough the music biz is, was and will be until the end of time. Volume 3 was and is undoubtedly BW's finest moment, but even that was not good enough to stop their record label from dropping them. A year later, and after their self-produced(out of necessity) follow-up to Vol. 3 stiffed, the band went their separate ways in search of musical success. And it's a genuine shame. Vol. 3 brims with passion and invention and some genuinely excellent intra-band musicianship. Opening cut, the epic-10 minute journey that is THE BATTLE is a winding, twisting mixture of hard-rock and theatrical prog, telling the story of a wounded solider and his experiences during the heat of battle. The song dashes thru 4 carefully-constructed sections before finishing up in a thrilling climax of creschendoing guitars and drums, showing off the bands style at the peak of their impressive powers. But it's not just long prog songs these guys are good at; check out LONELY MAN, which contains a bass riff that's blacker and funkier than almost anything produced in R'n'B today and would probably have Prince craving to make it his own. LONELY MAN spans 4, ultra-quick minutes and features a rocking flute-solo alongside the groovy guitars. It's a welcome departure for a band who throughout their careers were often compared with BLACK SABBATH and therefore bracketed in the satanic rock/heavy metal category. The albums second half is weaker - closer I WISH I WOULD sounds naff and repetive - but any self-respecting prog fan, be they into YES, PINK FLOYD, WISHBONE ASH, GRAVY TRAIN or GENESIS will find a lot to like about this obscure, flawed gem. Impressive too is the cover art depicting an old, bedraggled and bearded prisoner sitting upright in a dank, dark and dirty dungeon. And get this: IT'S NOT BY ROGER DEAN!!!! But you cannot write a good Black Widow review without addressing the satanic controversy that dogged their career and the sometimes ridiculous, tabloid-esque accusations that made life, at times, very hard for the band. Also, some people call Black Widow a Heavy Metal band, which just isn't so. Yes, some of their tunes have a hard-rock veneer, but they certainly ain'y heavy! It was comparisons like this that irraparably damaged the bands reputation. They did indulge in the odd-satanic knees-up, and some of their lyrics did show an obsession with the darker-side-of-life, but, especially at the time, these points were overblown to the point of being stupid. Inevitable BLACK SABBATH comparisons also didn't help, and in 1975 the group called it a day. Black Widow's history is littered with average albums, bogus accusations and silly mistakes, but, if they are to be remembered for one thing, then this excellent little album should be it. It's a daring, cleverly-played piece featuring a collection of eclectic styles, all expertly-moulded together by a group of musicians who deserved better. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2008
stefro | 4/5 |

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