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BLACK WIDOW

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Black Widow biography
Too often and unjustly compared to BLACK SABBATH because of their name and their Satanic lyrics on their first album, BLACK WIDOW had released an album under the name of Pesky Gee before changing their name. Unjustly compared because the music on that album is actually quite cheery and very much proto-prog. Unfortunately, the Satanist label will stick to them although their next two albums will not be in that direction, the music staying within the confines of hard rock and prog.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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SacrificeSacrifice
Repertoire Records 2014
$17.99
SacrificeSacrifice
Limited Edition
Airmail Japan 2005
$24.99
$29.00 (used)
Return To The Sabbat/ivReturn To The Sabbat/iv
Arena Music 2001
$5.90
$8.98 (used)
IIIIII
Repertoire Records 2014
$8.09
$9.76 (used)
Black WidowBlack Widow
Repertoire Records 2014
$8.56
$9.99 (used)
Return to SabbatReturn to Sabbat
Mystic UK 1999
$15.17
$9.49 (used)
Their Greatest HitsTheir Greatest Hits
$4.90
$1.72 (used)
Sleeping with DemonsSleeping with Demons
Smack 2011
$15.94
$14.53 (used)
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BLACK WIDOW discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BLACK WIDOW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 145 ratings
Sacrifice
1970
3.00 | 59 ratings
Black Widow
1971
3.52 | 53 ratings
Black Widow III
1972
3.24 | 41 ratings
Black Widow IV
1997
3.77 | 35 ratings
Return To The Sabbat
1998
3.37 | 19 ratings
Sleeping With Demons
2011

BLACK WIDOW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BLACK WIDOW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.39 | 10 ratings
Demons of the Night Gather to See Black Widow Live
2008

BLACK WIDOW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 9 ratings
Come To The Sabbat: The Anthology
2003
5.00 | 1 ratings
See's The Light Of Day
2012

BLACK WIDOW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BLACK WIDOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sacrifice by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 145 ratings

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Sacrifice
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Sacrifice by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 145 ratings

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Sacrifice
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by ses

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 opener "In ancient days", it is however obvious that the thematic tangency with the gods of metal is not applicable on the band's sound. Starting of with a spooky organ, the song evolves into a jazzy powerhouse accompanied by detonating hammond chords, smooth saxophone passages and lyrics concerning the awakening of a demon (a recurring theme). Continuing the mellow atmosphere, "Way to power" has a heavy, sax-driven verse, and the whole composition feels like a companion piece to the earlier song. An amazing start of the album.

"Come to the sabbath" is - not too surprising - the single of the LP. With it's diabolic chorus and creepy humming, the piece brilliantly showcases why Black Widows had an influence on black metal bands of the 80's. An instant classic, it grew on me as a listener, and even my girlfriend has remembered the tribal rhyme "Come, come, come to the sabbath, come to the sabbath, Satan's there".

The following two tracks, "Conjuration" and "Seduction" cool things down a bit before the climatic ending pieces of the B-side, with the jazz origins of Pesky Gee! becoming palpable. Being at the top of capacity, "Attack of the demon" has a boogie-vibe to it, with chilling lyrics ("All of my sins has left me in hell!"). Being the proggiest song on the album, the 11-minute long title track is an exquisite piece, containing a ravishing middle section of flute and organ solos.

Black Widow may not succeed at exploring the dark harmony the way Black Sabbath did with their revolutionary debut album, but it is nevertheless a potent work in its own right, rather sharing musical characteristics with Jethro Tull and Atomic Rooster. Being released in 1970, the album is a wonder of early prog rock, and is actually really consistent the whole journey through. Sadly enough, their following releases would neither have the strong musical identity nor as dark lyrical themes as this offering, making Black Widow somewhat of a one-hit-wonder. Bold, controversial and surprisingly catchy, "Sacrifice" is a hidden gem of prog rock.

 Sacrifice by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 145 ratings

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Sacrifice
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.)
 Return To The Sabbat by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.77 | 35 ratings

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Return To The Sabbat
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've always previously found Black Widow to be an album I just didn't "get", but these original demo tapes for Black Widow's debut album have won me over. With Kay Garret - lead vocalist from the band's previous incarnation as Pesky Gee - still around to provide female vocals, the theatrical intention of the conceptual song sequence is teased out more effectively (it really does help to have different people singing the different parts in this case), and whilst the sound quality isn't pristine, it's actually pretty solid for 1960s demo material. If nothing else, I can see why the likes of Blood Ceremony look to Black Widow for inspiration, and it's inspired me to take another look at their discography.
 Come To The Sabbat: The Anthology  by BLACK WIDOW album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.80 | 9 ratings

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Come To The Sabbat: The Anthology
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Black Widow is always going to be associated with one song, which has given title to this double CD compilation which attempts to provide the definitive anthology of the band. Overall it has to be said that it works very well in that respect, apart from the fact that it doesn't list the original source of all of the songs, just the years, which is the one failing that I can find. The booklet folds out and there are plenty of photos and reprinted reviews and album covers etc as well as a history of the band. Musically it starts with two tracks from the band before they became Black Widow, when they were known as the slightly less threatening Perky Gee! (their exclamation mark, not mine). At this time they had a female lead vocalist in Kay Garrett, but she left during the recording sessions of the debut BW album, 'Sacrifice'.

Who knows what the band would have done if Pesky Gee! had been more successful as while the Uriah Heep-style hard rock and Clive Jones sax are easily recognisable her vocals give the band a different, more polished, edge. Track three is actually from 1999, taken from a Black Widow tribute album where the band is also credited with providing some new songs but were actually Kip Trevor backed by Pendragon (!). It is of course "Come To The Sabbat" and "Sacrifice" that are the songs that are probably best remembered now; although at the time a much bigger fuss was made over the fact that the band used to sacrifice a naked woman onstage after simulated sex with the lead singer! And critics say that Tatu are shocking!!

In fact there are two versions of "Come To The Sabbat" as well as the 'proper' version there is also the demo from 1969 which features Kay as well as two previously unreleased songs from her unreleased 1971 solo album. This album is easily the most complete attempt at providing a complete history of the band and although it is annoying that there aren't enough track details this is still an interesting release.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

 Return To The Sabbat by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.77 | 35 ratings

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Return To The Sabbat
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

1 stars This came to me as a big surprise, i was looking forward to hearing this, because of all the big ratings and positive reviews, and of course i love heavy prog, this must be a winner!! I sat down and started listening, the sound was dated and muddy but ok, as 'In Ancient Days' progressed i was starting to worry, the song ended after 9 minutes and except for some sax fillers and sax solo that song was mainly a long verse and a long chorus done a few times, no great guitars, no great drumming and even that sax couldn't save the song from being a total disaster. That was the longest not progressive song i ever heard. After i finished listening to the album i thought "maybe i wasn't in the mood..." But after i listened to the music a couple of times more, i understood this is one of the worst albums i heard. The sound is hideous, just below average and that hurts the music a lot, although it was released in 1998, they still couldn't do much for it, i guess the recording was very bad.

The music is mainly heavy, definitely not progressive, doesn't hold any changes or good solos, there are just a collection of songs with some jazzy parts here and there, including some saxophone and some flutes too, guitar is unnoticeable, includes one solo the whole album, but mainly plays rhythm. Keys are not bad but nothing to mention, the rhythm section is straight forward, just keeping a beat going on. If i'll have to strain my self and think of a good part i would say there is a nice jazzy moment in 'sacrifice', but come on...'Come to the Sabbat' is maybe a little unconventional with it's tribal rhythm, ritualistic vocals, the flute and some kindergarden keys. Should have stayed in the sixties and never come out.

Rise high fall hard, as i was expecting this to be a masterpiece it turned out to be a real floop. sometimes i'm wondering if i have the same cd as other reviewers. Maybe best try to go for their debut which was recorded in 1970 and can contain better recording, this was recorded at 69. Nothing at all for progers who seeks interesting music.

 Sacrifice by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 145 ratings

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Sacrifice
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 Sacrifice by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 145 ratings

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Sacrifice
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 Sacrifice by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 145 ratings

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Sacrifice
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

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

 Black Widow by BLACK WIDOW album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.00 | 59 ratings

BUY
Black Widow
Black Widow Heavy Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sandwiched between their patchy debut and their third album, the excellent and aptly-titled 'Volume III', this self-titled effort from Leicester's sorely underappreciated Black Widow would see the group sensibly making a move away from the occult craziness that had so far defined the band's stage-show, song-writing and overall image. A promising first record otherwise, 1970's 'Sacrifice' was - rather unfortunately - positively bathed in gruesome, cod-satanic imagery, therefore overshadowing all other aspects of the group's music and rendering their jazz-tinged brand of fulsome progressive rock secondary to their dubious reputation. Thanks to an ill-judged live show that involved fake sacrifice's, devil-worshipping rituals, topless dancers and much joke-shop blood, Black Widow were seen by many as a tasteless heavy metal band. The Sun newspaper had 'exposed' these strange goings-on to the outside world with a sensationalist article(remember, this is 1971) which would give the group much nationwide publicity but would also forever taint them in the eyes of the moral majority. However, despite the group's left-field leanings(whatever they may be), it is often forgotten that Black Widow were actually a very decent prog group who were as far from heavy metal as a rock group could be. The mis-leading heavy metal tag was due in part to the constant comparisons that were - and still are - being made with Black Sabbath, a much heavier group who were emerging into the British rock scene at around the same time and would, of course, introduce the world to Ozzy Osbourne. Released in 1971, 'Black Widow' is an energetic yet rather formulaic album that found the group at a stylistic cross-road. Their previous album had featured some strong individual moments from a disparate and talented group of ambitious musicians, but, unfortunately, not all was well within the ranks. For 'Black Widow', the nucleus of the group had remained the same, with Kip Trevor(vocals) augmented by Jim Gannon(guitar), Zoot Taylor(organ, piano) and Clive Jones(sax, flute), but Jeff Griffiths(bass) and Romeo Challenger(drums) had come in to replace the outgoing Bob Bond and Clive Box who were un-satisfied with the group's overall direction. Production duties would again be undertaken by Pat Meehan, which would provide the album with a sense of continuation from 'Sacrifice', but this time around main song-writers Kip Trevor and Jim Gannon would eschew the occult themes in favour of more straight-forward song-writing. However, despite a barnstorming opening track in the form of the tightly-constructed, Yes-flecked 'Tears & Wine', the album falls well short of it's predecessor in terms of memorable tunes. Trevor's vocals seem strained throughout, and the folky, flute-led vibes give the material a lighter, less meaningful glaze. Indeed, there is a jaunty, piano-led feel to some of the songs, particularly 'The Gypsy', which places the group nearer Jethro Tull! After 'Tears & Wine' there is very little to recommend beyond the strange front-cover artwork and the excellent musicianship, and it wouldn't be until 1972 that the group would make a triumphant return with possibly their best album, the highly-enjoyable 'Volume III'. Black Widow took many hits over the years. They stirred-up Satanic controversy with The Sun, played to thousands at the Isle Of Wight festival, found themselves un-fairly bracketed as a heavy metal group and made four studio albums before being dropped by their record label. Unlike Black Sabbath, they wouldn't find lasting success and their star would burn briefly. But, despite their lack of commercial triumphs, they, like many of the great prog bands who didn't quite make it or simply disappeared after one album - the likes of Khan, Samurai, Mainhorse, Yatha Sidhra, Home, Flash, Jade Warrior - have been re-discovered in the new digital internet age of the 21st century by fans old and new alike. This self-titled effort is probably one of the group's weaker efforts - bar the superb 'Tears & Wine - but within Black Widow's small but surprising canon lies some genuinely innovative and authentic early-seventies progressive rock. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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