As kids on a rainy day there was nothing better than coming home caked in the dirt rich antics of the day; being mud splattered after playing and revelling in the organic filth on offer. The sound and new album, Oh Deer God, from UK stoner/heavy rock outfit Widows is the sonic equivalent; a dirty, scuzzy plaything which sticks to the senses whilst offering a tank full of just as instinctive pleasure.
Over seven tracks bulging with rabid grooves, ravenous riffs, and vocals that instinctively wear irritability with pride, Widows has unleashed their heaviest and dirtiest escapades yet but without losing the body inciting grooving which helped debut album Death Valley Duchess grab attention back in 2012. The five years between releases has seen the band in their words trade “the desert worship for some more sludgy/doomy elements and it’s definitely a much darker affair.” It has also seen new bassist Phil Emblin come in and link up with vocalist Adam Jolliffe, guitarist James Kidd, and drummer Ze Big; another move which seems to have given fresh depth and weight to a sound bred on the inspirations of artists such as Down, Kyuss, and Clutch. It has been a fair time since the band formed in 2008 and released debut EP Raise the Monolith two years later, a passage which on the evidence of Oh Deer God has seen them become one of Britain’s mightiest purveyors of infestation.
The Nottingham band swiftly has Oh Deer God eagerly fingering the senses with its title track. First the guitar strokes ears, the bass quickly joining in as beats add their imposing bite and Jolliffe growls with an almost toxic intent from the midst of it all. Strolling along with a controlled but feral gait, the song breaks its stride with moments of instinctive boisterousness but then slips back into its natural prowl. Melodic strains simply add to the raw temptation of the track, its stoner breeding complimenting the primal heart driving things. With a touch of Northern Ireland outfit Triggerman meets Clutch to it, the song brings things to the boil superbly before parting for the one minute plus fury of its successor.
Caffeine and Hatred is a short swift violation that just ignites the senses and passions, its punk tempest and web of sonic trespasses, accentuated by the lethal swings of Ze Big, irresistible pleasure. The song is as musically horny as it is quarrelsome, the kind of rabid assault greed flocks to before taking on the rhythmically big boned and sonically compelling Heresy and Venom. As with the first, the song has hips swerving to its grooves and the inner punk grabbing on to its senses puncturing stabs with glee whilst the rocker inside swings from its stoner nurtured tendrils of intoxication. There is a great element of discord in the mix too, an unpredictability which increases the slavery of the imagination.
More familiar essences and designs are woven for the tangy exploits of next up Blue Tuna but wrapping a rhythmically agitated skeleton dancing with more of that expectations squashing enterprise already shaping the album while Ride To The Realm Of Coitus gets to the grain of dirty rock ‘n’ roll with its crawling motion and grubby textures. With the bass a soiled flirtation, the song initially stalks the senses before flicking a switch into a feistily energetic and volatile canter with tart melodic seduction veining a rapacious character built on predacious grooves and riffs.
The blues infested grooving of Baron Greenback Blues across a spine of wonderfully dishevelled rock ‘n’ roll has things hungrily bouncing next, the track a wild and wily incitement of body and spirit with another seriously carnal and glorious bassline stealing the passions before making way for Germanium Buzz which brings things to a fine close. Almost clean cut in comparisons to things before it, the song is the one track the stoner rock tag fully fits though it too is soon uncaging muscular dexterity and body trespassing instincts seeded in other strains of sound, merging both sides with increasingly captivating tenacity.
You can call Oh Deer God and the Widows sound stoner rock, sludge, or heavy rock but quite simply it is just undiluted rock ‘n’ roll and the reason the band’s latest album is one essential slab of prize pleasure.
Oh Deer God is out now through UMC Recordings and available @ https://widows666.bandcamp.com/album/oh-deer-god
Pete RingMaster 24/05/2017
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