I had to research what the title of True Widow’s album Avvolgere means. It’s an Italian term that means to wrap up or wind around something. It’s appropriate, because this album wraps around your mind with a lot of good, dark shoegaze that changes the feel of the air around you.
“Back Shredder” starts the album, and I wonder if the song is about self-flagellation or being under the whip of a demanding boss, Dom / Domme, or both. The guitar is as heavy as the steps of a high-heeled boot into a dungeon, and the vocals sound like they were recorded in such a place. It’s a solid start. “Theurgist” refers to someone who practices theurgy (ritualistic magic with the intent of invoking gods to improve oneself). The bass is something that would make Peter Hook proud, and the vocals seem to indicate that the singer is trying to bring back an ex-lover more than invoke a god (or are they one and the same?).
Next is the cryptically titled “F.W.T.S.: L.T.M.” It’s pure shoegaze, with slow cymbal-driven beats and distorted riffs that carry the vocals like a leaf on a river that might turn into raging rapids at any moment. I’ve read that True Widow refers to their music as “stonergaze,” and that description is apt for “The Trapper and the Trapped.” Male and female vocals bounce off each other as the bass hits like a blunt axe and the drums pound out a funeral dirge.
“O.O.T.P.V.” is another cryptic title, but don’t worry about it because good heavens is this song fantastic. The way the guitars chug along and then break open the chorus (“I try to run away, but I can’t seem to run. There’s something in the way, and I’m too scared to look.” – An anthem for all of us trying to escape reality at one time or another.) will make you stop and pay attention. “Entheogen” is a term for any plant-based chemical substance you ingest to induce an altered state of consciousness for religious purposes. The title explains the sweat lodge-like sound of the guitar (which isn’t much different from some spaghetti western scores) and the mysterious lyrics. The sweat lodge drums come out in “To All That He Elong,” which is nothing but drums, acoustic guitar, and sad vocals. “Sante” (French for “health”) is has more heavy guitar and bass that reminds me of Hum tracks if Hum had a female lead singer. “Grey Erasure” reminds me of early Jesus and Mary Chain, and the closer, “What Finds Me,” is six minutes of heavy shoegaze mixed with a bit of doom rock sludge.
“Stonergaze” might be my new favorite musical genre, and I have True Widow to thank for introducing me to it. If you’re in the right mood, this is the album for you. If you’re not in the right mood, this album might put you there.
Keep your mind open.
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