Dragged Into Sunlight’s first album ‘Hatred For Mankind’ spewed an acidic existential darkness over us with the unrelenting hell of blackened metallic passages and chunks of doom. The mysterious foursome from Liverpool seemingly came from nowhere to give us the unsettling debut. They’re back again and what Dragged Into Sunlight have done on this second attempt is an altogether more ambitious package. The full 40 minutes of this record is one single track of three sections and it absolutely must be listened to from beginning to end.
‘WidowMaker’ feels like a ride of churning motions; at times ghostly, sometimes outrageously heavy and other times disturbing. You’re sucked under until the overwhelmingly monstrous sound smudges you across a pavement slab and flings you past the 40-minute mark, leaving teeth smashed, hair ripped out, face battered and your emotions stretched, wrangled, doctored and toyed with. ‘WidowMaker’ is unrelenting, but not in the classic ‘be as brutal as possible for the fuck of it’ sense. For far too many bands, there’s an overeager mentality to go straight for jugular by rites of blastbeat and a bit of ugly tremolo to match. But more often than not, to make a truly shocking mark on the listener, a lot more thought is required. That’s where Dragged Into Sunlight come in. The four-piece produce a sound that forces you to delve into the depths of your soul, reach in, pull out your hair-raising anxieties, neurotic fears and trigger the dormant nastiness that lives within.
So much is going on in ‘WidowMaker’. A great brooding eeriness descends on the opening section, which musters together with beautiful violin and depressive guitar-picking to create a mournful atmosphere. It’s not forest-dwelling ambience that’s intended here, but rather a deep, unsettling and gradually mind-eroding bleakness made from spacey yet subtle synth and hypnotic picking that’s closer to a very dark Agalloch as opposed to any of their earlier, more blackened influences. The lulling atmospherics give way and a mass wall of devastating, sludgy riffery opens up for the second section, switching charismatic riffs with interchanging low grunts and piercing shrieks until the third and final section abruptly begins in a bastion of slogging doom. Yet again, there’s something more here than your average bled-out doom riff. There’s actual doom fornicating in the atmosphere. Something dark and morbid dwells in the fabric of Dragged Into Sunlight’s heavy-as-lead riffs and it’s backed by the constantly disturbing audio samples, the most effective being: “I’ll do everything I can to escape and if necessary, kill prison guards on the way out. And I’ll go right back to doing what I did before as soon as I hit the streets; kill kids.”
Upon the final two shocking words of the sample, Dragged Into Sunlight begin the end of their 40-minute rampage with barbaric riffs and agitated banshee screams. The beast subsides, the cleansing is over and you can now return to reality… or at least try to.
WidowMaker is out now on Prosthetic.
You’ll like this if… the horror of human catharsis requires many dark pastels to shade the picture.