In the last days of the Earth, when the land, the sea and the putrid decay they conceal are immolated by the expanding sun’s infernal heat; when the last remaining humans suffer frantically among the searing white ash, choking on the stench of burning death and screaming the abhorrent fear that leaves behind only the now futile instinct to procreate, and they claw desperately and indiscriminately at each other's blistered, melting flesh; this music will be the sound of the world’s violent, rotten shame tormenting itself into eternal, abysmal darkness.
The same kind of shitty feeling you get from listening to too much Grief lingers in the wake of I. Electric Wizard inspired riffs buried under six feet of mud and scraping, nihilistic distortion in the vein of Corrupted serve to relentlessly compound the horror. Grey Widow do break up the demeaning drag in places, but with unhinged forays into wet, sloppy grind (as in “IV”) and bollocking Iron Monkey type groove (as in “III”), it’s never a picnic.
One of the things that really stands out is how disorienting the music can be, not least because the three band members who contribute vocals adopt enough different styles to make it sound like hordes of tortured voices are calling you from the void, trying to tempt your sick curiosity and lure you into the depths of madness. Just listen to the unnerving carry on between the agonised screeches and distant, shredded bellows throughout “V”.
Another thing this band does well is to force its music progressively downward, as if the songs are sinking into quicksand. After “VI” starts with the most restraint that exists anywhere on this release, it eventually descends into a churning sinkhole of a riff that gets lower and lower before closing over to seal out the song’s last glimmer of light.
If that sounds like too much to take, then be warned, there will be no reward for hanging on until the end. “VIII” is about as spiteful and gut-wrenching an insult as you are likely to volunteer to receive. Brutally heavy and antagonistically slow, it makes for a very blunt finish, and demonstrates just how much of a kick these unrepentant, depraved scumbags from England obviously get from trying to terrify people.
There is no middle ground. Grey Widow’s I is going to either repulse you or trap you.