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Black Widow

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Black Widow Sacrifice album cover
3.71 | 176 ratings | 22 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In ancient days (7:40)
2. Way to power (3:58)
3. Come to the sabbat(4:56)
4. Conjuration (5:45)
5. Seduction (5:38)
6. Attack of the demon (5:37)
7. Sacrifice (11:10)

Total Time: 43:44

Bonus track on 2001 reissue:
8. Come To The Sabbat (single edit version) (3:36)

Bonus CD from 2014 SE:
1. In Ancient Days (with Interlude) (7:39)
2. Way To Power (with Interlude) (4:33)
3. Come To The Sabbat (with Interlude) (5:40)
4. Conjuration (with Interlude) (6:15)
5. Seduction (with Interlude) (6:10)
6. Attack Of The Demon (with Interlude) (6:13)
7. Sacrifice (with Interlude) (11:29)
8. Outro (0:58)

Total time 48:57

Bonus DVD from 2014 SE - Recording of German TV "Beat Club - Sacrifice: Demons Of The Night Gather To See Black Widow Live", May 1970 :
1. In Ancient Days (Live) (15:08)
2. Way To Power (Live) (3:33)
3. Come To The Sabbat (Live) (5:25)
4. Conjuration (Live) (4:53)
5. Seduction (Live) (5:36)
6. Attack Of The Demon (Live) (5:24)
7. Sacrifice (Live) (15:14)

Total time 55:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Kip Trevor / vocals
- Jim Gannon / lead & Spanish guitars, vibes, vocals (Live)
- Zoot Taylor / Hammond organ, piano
- Clive Jones / flute, saxophone, clarinet
- Bob Bond / bass guitar
- Clive Box / drums, percussion

- Geoff Griffith / bass & vocals (Live)

Releases information

Artwork: Rick Breach

LP CBS ‎- 63948 (1970, UK)
LP Repertoire Records ‎- REP 2263 (2015, UK) Remastered

CD Repertoire Records ‎- RR 4067-CC (1990, Germany)
2CD + DVD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 5333 (2014, UK) Remastered plus bonus CD including album tracks with interludes and a bonus DVD of Live versions from 1970

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BLACK WIDOW Sacrifice ratings distribution

(176 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLACK WIDOW Sacrifice reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
4 stars Public service announcement: I have seen this album referred to as a black metal album. It is not, so don't expect another BLACK SABBATH here. What you should expect is JETHRO TULL-like prog rock, dominated by sax, flute, and Hammond organ. The music on this album, despite the heavily Satanic lyrics, are hardly sinister sounding, it's actually pretty upbeat and cheery stuff, definately not what BLACK SABBATH done, and not even what Italian proggers JACULA (who later became ANTONIUS REX) had done.

The album starts off with "In Ancient Days", I love that Hammond organ intro, which epitomizes what was great of prog in the early days. The acoustic guitar kicks, and you hear sax, and Mellotron-like strings, before the vocals come in. "Come to the Sabbat" was the "hit" on the album, what I am surprised was a hit with the repeated chanting of "Come, Come, Come to the Sabbat, Satan's there". "Seduction" is a rather pleasant ballad, and I love the cheesy-sounding middle part that sounds like something off a bad movie. Another favorite song of mine is "Attack of the Demon" with lyrics that go: "All my sins have damned my soul in Hell". Then there's the lengthy title track which contains a jazzy solo.

All this album is totally early '70s. It's also BLACK WIDOW's only album with Satanic lyrics, it seems that certain fundamentalist Christian were outraged, and so the band dropped that image and all their following albums feature more typical lyrics. Still, if the thought of Satanic prog sounds interesting, then give this album a try.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Much derided for their satanic lyrics & music and much criticized for sounding like Black Sabbath, the stupid and mindless British Weekly (NME & MM ) press hit on this band even more than on B S . Once again they were completely wrong, as yes , the satanic lyrics are laughable and subject to ridicule (Welcome To The Sabbath is really silly but this was no spoof) as most of those band who spread out their so called religious beliefs on wax. As for the music , this does not sound like BS at all : Although the debut and Paranoid from BS have every right to be highly regarded by all frog fans , this is not really the case from Reality on as they will do straight hard rock, forgetting about musical lyricism . For Black Widow , the music on this debut is more prog than all 20 B S albums linked together except for thir first two. The music on this album is hardly dark or gothic, itis quite happy and cheery, brass-laden affair with much good feelings . This is why maybe those Satanic lyrics are really out of place here. This album looses one star solely on that point : especially their Welcome to the Sabbath ruins the rest of the album.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Interesting satanic art rock by the ex-PESKY GEE, with some both powerful and silly moments. I understood that they did some gigs with BLACK SABBATH at the early 70's? Instead of this original album I would recommend you to hunt down "Return to The Sabbath", which is an earlier recording of this album with the band's original lady singer. The covers on this album are cooler though, and this is a nice collector item as an original vinyl! Vade retro Satanas!
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Sometimes the sacrifice just isn't worth it, and I'm afraid to report that that is certainly the case with Black Widow's much lauded debut album. I heard about this album a good decade before I got my hands on it, and was expecting a masterful work of dark progressive rock ... a sort of strange blend of early Atomic Rooster, Comus and perhaps even Black Sabbath. What I finally discovered however was a mediocre collection of occult-themed songs set to unadventurous jazz-rock backing.

Maybe this album was worth investigating for its novelty value alone, but I'm really not sure that there are enough high points on this album to come remotely close to justifying the good things I'd heard about it. The best tracks are probably the opening pair of In Ancient Days and Way To Power which boast the strongest melodies and are good driving tracks. Another highlight is the closing title track (which does at least have some punchy flute and organ solos, from Clive Jones and Zoot Taylor respectively) and I suppose they do have enough of an appeal for me to want to hang on to this album.

Basically though, Black Widow, the brainchild of guitarist Jim Gannon (who wrote virtually all the songs) seem to have gained acclaim for the live spectacle and occult themes (daring for 1970) of its shows rather than for actually playing and composing sterling progressive rock. On some occasions, particularly during Seduction (the awful lounge jazz section had me gasping with incredulity) and Attack Of The Demon, the cabaret nature of Kip Trevor's lead vocals are just too much for me to tolerate, while the repeated chorus of Come To The Sabbat wastes a nice string melody and thus doesn't do this album any favours, either.

What's most surprising though is the generally one dimensional jazz-rock that the sextet plays ... it's enjoyable half the time, but is almost never exciting from a musical sense. On the basis of Sacrifice, I'm actually a little puzzled as to how that Black Widow have developed such a cult following among progressive rock fans. Musically they are way off the standards of the most exciting prog-jazz ensembles ... aside from anything else, I'm not really sure Black Widow ever plays anything progressive beyond the long jam in the final track!

While I will concede a certain charm factor (the sheer tongue-in-cheek element makes you feel more affection for this album than the music deserves!), this is one of the last stops you should make as you investigate the classic prog scene. I'd put it on par with another disappointment, Jethro Tull splinter group Blodwyn Pig, but that group had some outstanding musicians, and nobody in Black Widow is really worth drawing attention to, in my opinion. In fact, I still feel somewhat cheated by this record. ... 52% on the MPV scale

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I got acquainted by this band a very long time ago. A friend of mine lend me once a CBS compilation called Fill Your Head With Rock in 1971. One song of theirs was featured (I guess that you all can imagine which one).

The opening track In Ancient Days is a mix of psychedelia combined with heavy keys. Invading brass can be heard as well. Such a song might sound outdated but it is always a pleasure to listen to. It is very much in the style available during that period. I quite like the song.

When you would listen to the most famous piece from this album, you will notice some evident Tull influences. There are fine fluting, good harmony and hypnotic rhythm: all this being topped by some now famous lyrics. I have loved this track instantly; at the time (I was twelve years old) the lyrics remained alien to me, but I was already attracted by, let's say, a special mood. This is the second highlight.

This album is a long blend of heavy sources (bass and brass combined with strong drumming) and more sophisticated (prog) moments.

The most delicate in the genre is Seduction which starts very gently. Almost a pastoral affair: the sweet fluting is definitely providing this lighter aspect and the use of some orchestrations only adds to the feeling. An instrumental and jazzy part takes the relay at half time but the psyche taste is still noticeable. The song beautifully ends as it had started: almost Trespass-esque. Another good song after all.

This album is rather pleasant: no weak tracks are to be found and it should be appealing to the ones interested in the early seventies. Heavy psychedelic? Maybe. But prog for sure (Attack Of The Demon).

The closing track also has a lot to share with Tull (who released Benefit the same year as this album). The backing band is excellent and I am quite found of the great fluting during the middle part. The whole song (over eleven minutes) is an ode to heavy music. It is a solid boogie track and it is is a great way to close. It is my preferred track of this album. Seven out of ten. OK, I'll upgrade it to four stars.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars (Spinal) Tapping into the occult

Having released one album under the name Pesky Gee!, the band members found themselves without a recording contract and seeking a clear direction. Drummer Clive Box picked up on the growing interest in the occult or the dark side, and suggested that the band reinvent themselves around those themes. Thus Black Widow was originally nothing more than a name change and a new vision.

Rather carelessly, they quickly lost their lead singer Kay Garrett, who decided that marriage was a better option. She had already participated in the recording of songs for what would become "Sacrifice", but the band chose to re-record the songs with Kip Trevor on lead vocals. By this time, they had secured a contract with CBS, the UK arm of Columbia records and a major player in the rock market. CBS were one of the leading lights in releasing sampler albums, and Black Widow gained a coveted slot on "Fill your head with rock" for the track "Come to the sabbat". This proved to be something of a turning point for Black Widow's fortunes, interest in "Sacrifice" blossoming virtually overnight and resulting in the album entering the UK album chart.

These days, it can be difficult to listen to Black Widow without seeing flashes of Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge" before you. To be fair, the band seemed to have their tongues firmly in their cheeks anyway as far as the whole occult thing was concerned. The music is another thing entirely though, and it clear from the opening "In ancient days" that they have strong ambitions in that department. The track features some fine sax and organ giving a Family or Audience like feel at times. Jim Gannon, who joined the band after they metamorphosed from Pesky Gee!, is primarily responsible for the song writing which, while perhaps now sounding rather na´ve, is nevertheless captivating.

Musically this is no dirge, the songs are melodic and uplifting with folk tinges and brief jazz bursts. Those familiar with Steel Mill's wonderful "Green eyed god" may notice similarities with parts of "Come to the sabbat" probably the most controversial song on the album. Apart from the "Satan's there" chanted chorus though, this is in fact an upbeat anthem like number which will set the toes tapping. It's all good clean fun really. Likewise, the title track is almost amusingly jolly, the band swinging along to "A sacrifice, a sacrifice, you say you want a sacrifice" as if they were singing a happy summer pop song. The track develops nicely though with a flute interlude and organ solo.

Elsewhere, other tracks are rather dull affairs, "Conjuration" for example being a directionless dirge saved only by some adequate sax. In all though, while "Sacrifice" has not perhaps aged as well as many of its peers, it remains an accomplished work with good musicianship and inventive song writing. The rather clumsy attempts at creating something dark and sinister may now only serve to amuse, but at the time they provided the band with the publicity they needed to distinguish themselves from the many other outfits who were equally as capable.

Review by stefro
3 stars Formed from the ashes of Leicester-based psych, soul & r'n'b combo Pesky Gee, Black widow endured an incident-packed if somewhat truncated career that produced, amongst other things, four studio albums of varying quality, a large and loyal fanbase in Italy, a whole load of controversy(thanks, in part, to The Sun newspaper) and a starring role in-front of nearly 100,000 people at the inaugural Isle of Wight festival. Why Black Widow never 'made it' seems almost like a moot point; their cult status has been assured through the ages for many reasons and now, in the 21st century, almost 40 years after Pesky Gee first started out, this strange, occult-obsessed band are finally getting the restrospective kudos all good bands deserve.

Pesky Gee released their debut album, 'Exclamation Mark'(or '!', for the purists out there) in 1969 to little fanfare or commercial gain. The album did, however, showcase a fulsome and eclectic mixture of styles from a collection of obviously rather-talented individuals who were led by the enigmatic vocalist and lyricist Kip Trevor. 'Exclamation Mark' blended funky, organ-coated R'n'B with psychedelia and a smattering of jazzy hues very nicely, with the group showing off an array of muscular musical chops that eschewed the light-and-fluffy sounds of British psychedelia for a more Americanized sound that seemed to bridge the gap between Psych and Prog. The next logical move was embrace the new 'Progressive' musical scene that was storming Britain at the time and thus Black Widow were born in early 1971, when 'Sacrifice' was released following sessions with Pat Meehan Jr and future Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. For 'Sacrifice' Kip Trevor was augmented by Jim Gannon(guitar), Zoot Taylor(organ, piano), Clive Jones(sax, flute, clarinet), Bob Bond(bass) and Clive Box(drums), which was basically the line-up of Pesky Gee with a few additions. The album featured much accomplished musicianship and a jazzy edge prevalent on their previous material, but was also much more ambitious both musically and lyrically, with main songwriters Kip Trevor and Jim Gannon basing their songs on occult teachings and black magic rituals, themes that would fall foul of the era's moral majority(remember, this is the early seventies). Both Trveor and Gannon would, on occasion, maybe take their obsession with these mysterious subjects a bit too far, leading to the band being subject of a nasty front-page 'moral panic' story from those purveyors of moral standards, 'The Sun' newspaper, thanks to a particular gig in which the band tied a naked 'virgin' to an altar and proceeded to act out a blood-bathed sacrifice(!). However, the music does always speak for itself and Black Widow's brand of fulsome progressive rock is strong enough for one to ignore the occasional literal abberation. Sacrifice is not a classic album, but it's a very good one, featuring at least four excellent examples(i.e. songs) of their style and, is possibly, their best album. STEFAN TURNER, LONDO, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Black Widow is a legendary band from the UK with notorious satanic content in lyrics, image, stage show and artwork, and even beating Black Sabbath to it according to certain sources. Well, I care as less for satanic content as I care for Christian content so let's stay with the music, which is far from anything satanic or heavy, by today's standards at least.

Sacrifice is a fine proto-prog album, sometimes hesitating between the psychedelic pop of the 60s and jazz-influenced 70s rock with progressive tendencies. The frequent use of flutes sometimes reminds of early Jethro Tull but before long, a brass section or sweeping pop melody will show this music is still anchored in 60s songwriting and arrangements.

The songs are fairly catchy but rarely outstanding. The exceptions are the bluesy opener and the rocking closing track. The opening In Ancient Days should certainly be checked by grunge and stroner fans for its heavy blues qualitites, while the sax and mellotron will warm a progger's heart. The closing Sacrifice is more upbeat with extended jams, furious flutes and tasty organ abuse. If the entire album was of comparable quality this would have been a great gem but all songs that lie inbetween are average at best.

A must-hear for heavy rock and organ rock fans, but slightly dated and not consistent enough to inspire me for a more flattering rating.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite an amazing time capsule, Sacrifice brings out the 60s grooves, the Jethro Tull flute solos, and Aleister Crowley inspired Satan-themed lyrics. There was definitely a growing interest in the occult back then, with the Age of Aquarius coming to a close and groups like Coven, Black Sabbath and this group hitting the scene along with bald dudes like Anton Lavey spouting stuff. But for the bands exploring these elements, they often took wildly different routes in order to capture that freaky occult aura.

Sacrifice plays almost like a celebration of the black arts, unlike Sabbath's early material in which the message was more akin to "mess with evil and you are DOOMED". Almost every tune in Sacrifice seems to be about a quest for power through satanic rituals. In fact, the word "power" is said so often throughout this opus that it could be a drinking game. There's also the yearning for some far-out sex with a demon babe. The music itself complements the lyrics by giving everything a joyous vibe, as if it's an invitation to join the party, have a couple of bong hits, watch a sacrifice and get naked. The music is barely even rock at times, more of a breezy jazz & tribal folk hybrid with some rock thrown in that sounds much more like H.P. Lovecraft than heavy rock blues. Basically, Satan's a swingin' guy who likes to have a good time, as opposed to plodding along to Ozzy's wails or sitting around with screaming grim kids in their parents' basement.

Some highlights include the really sweet saxophone playing within the opening track, the jazzy mid-section of Seduction, and the killer chorus of Attack Of The Demon. I love that cool "na na na na" stuff backing up Kip's desperate strains. Of course, one can't talk about this album without mentioning Come To The Sabbat and its hilarious yet creepy chant. Again, what makes something like this work is how the music shuns the heavy and terrifying sludge riffs for a much lighter and sometimes progressive tone. Without the horror music, the lyrics alone become more of a focus, making Sacrifice an odd, disturbing yet weirdly appealing adventure. In the end, it's all silly stuff with keys of Solomon, ancient tomes, sacrificial daggers and cute princesses from castles of fire. Of course, silly can be fun, and in this case, it is.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Black Widow's Sacrifice offers a potent and sinister concept but trips over in the delivery - in particular, the band are actually quite bad when it comes to maintaining the spooky atmosphere they are aiming for, with ill-judged attempts to sound sensual (Seduction, which just comes off as sleazy) and overlong, repetitive compositions sabotaging their efforts. Return to the Sabbat, which collects the demo version of the album, manages to deliver a superior experience simply by keeping it sinister and lo-fi. (Even the refrain of Come To the Sabbat, which I find excessively repetitive and irritating here, somehow manages to work better in the context of the demos.)
Review by friso
3 stars Black Widow ' Sacrifice (1970)

Don't expact anything heavier then Manfred Mann's Earthband on this record. Solid art rock with some minor progressive rock linings. A warm 1970 sound with organs, pumping bass, some nice guitars and reasonably good vocals ' characteristic if nothing too special. Every song has some great catchy ideas and a twist sound wise ' take for example the pumping string section on 'Come to the Sabbat'. None of the songs sound like they were developed fully as compositions. Black Widow often just repeats verses & refrains and then runs out of ideas. Moreover, the playful satanic lyrics fail to work as memorable lyrics of catchy songs. These shortcomings disqualify 'Sacrifice' as an album to listen to with full attention, yet I can't help liking it a lot on the background. Every songs has some great moment and the energy of the record is great, very sympathetic and executed with proper energy. The artwork on my Akarma gate-fold reprint is glorious and adds to the enjoyment. Yes, I will recommend this a great little forgotten gem of the heavy psych era, just don't expect too much. More like a three-and-a-halve stars for this one.

Latest members reviews

5 stars BLACK WIDOW were a British Jazz-Rock band formed in Leicester in 1969. They released their first album under the name Pesky Gee! in 1969, before wisely deciding to change the name of the band to Black Widow. Their first album as Black Widow, titled "Sacrifice" (1970) caused some controversy at t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2304454) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Saturday, January 4, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Evolving from the light-hearted, jazzy band Pesky Gee!, Black Widow did a rebranding on par with Adidas journey into sustainable practices on this album. In a vein similar to Black Sabbath, "Sacrifice" explores occult themes and satanic rituals through its twisted lyrics. As early as in the opene ... (read more)

Report this review (#1870261) | Posted by ses | Monday, January 29, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Come Come Come To The Sabbat, Come To The Sabbat... Satans Here! Well... With Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Hawkwind and Atomic Rooster the born of Heavy Metal... and with Rush the born of Prog Metal. With these two sentences I described the importance of Black Widow and Sacrifice. And the s ... (read more)

Report this review (#160482) | Posted by Stige | Friday, February 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This band used to perform a ritual with a naked woman in the innocent pre-rock bitch world of the 1970's that was a brave thing to do. She was a lovely looking woman as well.....ah my smutty youth. The music isn't as Dark as you might expect and is certainly progressive rock. Personal changes m ... (read more)

Report this review (#148079) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A great album. It's powerful, satanic and... funny in few ways:) Lyrics are not too good. Satan my master and that kind of stuff. But music is wonderful. Every track on this lp is different, you can be bored here. There are art rock tracks like In Ancient Days, hard rock tracks like Sacrifice, so ... (read more)

Report this review (#106393) | Posted by Deepslumber | Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Black Widow was often compared to early Black Sabbath and nothin is farer the truth. Maybe the dark ocultic image is what these two groups have in common, but musically it is fire and water. This debut album is full of nice progressive tunes with rather satanic lyrics. It is good to say that ... (read more)

Report this review (#105002) | Posted by Hejkal | Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first work released in 1970 "Sacrifice". It is a group composed of six people. The image of the sound is a psychedelically art rock. Really, and the sound is colorful, and the style is a jazz style. It is an album that shows a variegated expression besides the desire. The first impression ... (read more)

Report this review (#63352) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 7 masterpieces! 7 magnificent fresco of "horror prog"! The music that produce is then an acoustic and prog version of the Black Sabbath. You listen to "Come To The Sabbath", that is to say it "Black Sabbath" of the Widow, or "Sacrifice" that is is it "Paranoid" of the ours! This is a masterpie ... (read more)

Report this review (#53416) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I really can't bring myself to dislike this album, which is odd because it's not really that good. Sounds strange, but I suppose it's one of those records that you love in spite of its shortcomings. 'In Ancient Days' is a great track, probably the best on the album, or at least the most convin ... (read more)

Report this review (#45259) | Posted by youllneverbe | Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hilarious! BLACK WIDOW's 1970 album is certainly a different album - while many bands in the early 70s liked to play the Fantasy Card (writing about wizards, demons and whatnot), BLACK WIDOW opted for a darker approach - SATANIC PROG! It's arguable whether or not the band really believed this ... (read more)

Report this review (#42416) | Posted by Rob The Good | Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you do not know this album - even if you have heard Sabbath, Atomic Rooster, Kingdom Come(Atrhur Brown)...You must search this one and find it because it comes from the time when young men and progressive bands were going to find answers to supernatural questions...and finally did not want to ... (read more)

Report this review (#30438) | Posted by | Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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