I honestly can’t say that I’ve heard anything that sounds exactly like True Widow’s latest release Circumambulation. Being a guy who never delved deeper into the “stoner” genre than a few songs by The Melvins, this album was something completely fresh and new to me, and I loved every minute of it.
Originally hailing from Dallas, Texas, True Widow has done what most bands prefer not to do: single themselves into their own genre. The band claims to be the band to pioneer the “stonegaze” genre, finding their sound to be somewhere between the slow, bass heavy sounds of stoner rock and the distorted, drowned out sounds of shoegaze.
The title Circumambulation is fitting: this is music I would picture hearing while worshiping a sacred object. Staying “true” to their self-proclaimed sound, the album puts listeners in a trance from the start with “Creeper”. Twenty seconds of noises that sound like they’re off in the distance and the heavy distorted guitar riff begins. Throw in some mellow ride cymbal/snare drum patterns and you have yourself some killer tunes. The repetitiveness and simplicity of this were extremely enjoyable and hypnotizing.
The vocals on this album contributed to that hypnotism. The album features two vocalists of similar yet differentiating tones. Bassist Nicole Estill’s vocals are very feathery, I’d go as far to say that they’re a little more creepy (check “Trollstigen”, the albums centerpiece and longest track), while guitarist Dan Phillips’ vocals are still light, but a little more grungy in tone. The times when these two harmonize are where this album shines (“Creeper”, “Four Teeth”, and “HW:R”).
The atmosphere, the catchy, structured songs, the heavy guitar riffs, and the simple drums make this album one of my favorites of the year so far. Check out Circumambulation when it releases July 23rd through Relapse Records, and catch True Widow on tour this fall with Chelsea Wolfe.
Tour dates here