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Black Widow - Black Widow III  CD (album) cover

BLACK WIDOW III

Black Widow

 

Heavy Prog

3.50 | 36 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Time to count the dead

With the band's leading light Jim Gannon leaving the line up after their eponymous second album, Black Widow needed to regroup quickly. This they did by bringing in replacement John Culley and calling upon the talented Francis Monkman (Curved Air, Sky) to help out on keyboards unaccredited. Deciding to simply call the album "Black Widow 3", they set about putting together some new songs without their former principal writer.

The album kicks of promisingly with an 11 minute three part piece called "The battle", a suite portraying the folly of war (a popular theme at the time and of course today). There is a Uriah Heep feel to the first section "The onslaught", mainly through the high harmonies and guitar/organ driven heavy rock. Lyrically, the song is rather rudimentary with lyrics such as "And now the battle's over, time to count the dead" hardly being the work of the bard. It is also noticeable how far removed such thoughts are from the devil worshipping antics of the debut. The track develops nicely through some building guitar work backed by ah-ah harmonies, but rather disappointing fades instead of reaching a crescendo ending. A fine piece though.

After that, it is by and large back to business as usual, with lighter pop rock focused numbers being the norm. That said, tracks such as "King of hearts" do have a prog structure, with altering themes and tempos flowing nicely. The song may have a lightweight feel, but it is well put together. The album closes with a further long piece "Old man" which lacks the fine structure of "The battle", but will nevertheless be of interest in these parts.

In all, a much better album than its immediate predecessor, but still lacking any real identity. The lack of success of this album and its predecessor led to the band's label CBS losing faith in them and terminating their contract.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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