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Black Widow - Return To The Sabbat CD (album) cover


Black Widow

Heavy Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Black Widow may be 70s rock legend most undervalued but don't forget that they remain true pionners in term of obscure, evil influences in popular & rock music. Musically it's certainly not Heavy metal...their sound is more a kind of late 60s powerful rock with an obvious progressive and medieval flavor. We can hear a lot of organ, flute, sax...put together to create a very dark music which was quiet unusual at this time. The tiltle track is a funny incantatory hymn to the sabbat...I consider this album as their best. It's by far better than their more conventional "IV". Prog and 70s rock lovers can't be disappointed!
Report this review (#30444)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars With this album that comes straight from the sole vinyl acetate owned by flautist Clive Jones you can not be disappointed. This is how their classic "Sacrifice" album was played live with great female vocals by Kay Garrett and when you have heard this one you perhaps want to hear debut album by Pesky Gee! from 1969 with the same line-up.
Report this review (#30445)
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This was a total surprise to me! All old versions of the songs on this one are far more better than on the "Sacrifice" album! Kay's vocals bring a strange and wonderful extra element to this music, and it's sad that they didn't continue doing material with the same line-up. I believe that the reason for this was Kay getting a child. I also found the sound from analog source pleasant, and the faint cracks of the vinyl bring a nice extra atmosphere to this release.

I think that the album covers were bit more better on the 1970 version, though there's a funny hidden element on this one (a face of a devil?!). I first thought this was a four star album, but careful listening cleared it out that this is truly an unique masterpiece, and it deserves five stars. The only album by this band you seriously need!

Report this review (#52301)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Unlike one could have imagined, this Return To The Sabbath is not a re-working of the very good debut album of the lesser-known Black Widow. Each song featured on this album is a demo release of what would become Sacrifice which was released in 1970.

All these versions are dating from 1969 and they are being offered in a less achieved way than the ones which were recorded for the official album released in those early days of prog. Most of the songs are shorter in their pre-release formats if you would except the opening number In Ancient Days. The keyboards intro is more solemn and the sax parts longer.

There was a CD edition released in 2005 which almost group these two album versions called Ultimate Sacrifice: One (only Way To Power and Attack Of The Demon were omitted due to space constrains).

To be honest, I wouldn't say that the pre-release album sounds better; on the contrary. The best known track for instance: Come To The Sabbath is much more accomplished in its final form.

One of the tracks that is not working here is Seduction. It was not my fave from the original album, but it was miles better than this early copy. The great and heavy part ends this version while the original continued on a last vocal and harmonious part.

This album is for fans only but it is still a good one (Sacrifice is just phenomenal); I would just recommend more the official release from 1970 to any proghead willing to discover this almost anonymous band. Black Widow deserves it. Three stars.

Report this review (#185479)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars First of all, I'm going to think about this album as of 1969, or trying to think in terms and facts (and music) of this era, because even this was released in 1998, it means not much to me. Because this thing is old, so old, reminds me (first tracks) Troya - Point of Eruption a lot in matter of atmosphere and sound In Ancient Days, I really expected to hear their singer singing these lyrics. Also, there are satanist lyrics ? Another normal thing to me, it can't change anything and I would be foolish if it could. It's simply their way of doing things.

So, this should be their chronologically first release, demo version ? Doesn't sound much like that, more like good release. There one funny thing, in last track (connection with their next album) Sacrifice with Jethro Tull like flute. And very organic organ. And tracks are catchy, blending melody which I expect here (after hearing so many Heavy Prog bands), few their own things (like saxophone, bass guitar and vocals work). Atmosphere is one of the things I like a lot when listening prog and I'm sure this has it. They made it using power, instead of tricks and peaceful negotiation with listener, but that's doesn't matter, I like it. Nowadays, you can have death/extreme metal and it's the way of power now, but back then, this was one of the hardest music genres that could be.

5(-), impressive "debut", if I may call it that way. Devil isn't so boring buddy, is he ?

Report this review (#244452)
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#646746)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#1064662)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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