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Black Widow - Sacrifice CD (album) cover


Black Widow


Heavy Prog

3.71 | 176 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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