"Life’s Blood"

By Lord Randall

Having been aware of North Carolina's WIDOW (for better or worse - usually worse) since 2003's "On Fire", and after having suffered through not only the sonic abortion that was "Nightlife" but an accompanying gig, to say hopes were not high upon receipt of an assignment to review Life's Blood was the stuff of true understatement.

WIDOW’s 4th outing – and first for Pure Steel – shows how much difference 4 years 
can make in a band’s sound. Gone are most of the laughable sophomoric musical and lyrical clichés that plagued "On Fire" and were damn near flaunted in "Nightlife", replaced by the loose, aggressive feel that make albums like DEF LEPPARD’s "On Through The Night" and DOKKEN’s "Tooth And Nail" so memorable. WIDOW has something to prove this time around, and the double-shot of ‘Lady Twilight’ and ‘In Dreams’ shows they know it. More rough around the edges than its predecessor, while revealing a band that’s upped the ante in both skill and songwriting, ‘Take Hold Of The Night’ being possibly the most truly metal tune on "Life’s Blood". ‘Another Fallen Angel’ and ‘Embrace It’  take the plunge into mediocrity, the latter being almost saved by the chorus, but it’s too little too late in this case. Things start to pick up with the struggling ‘Behind The Light’,but it’s the early MAIDEN raucousness of ‘The Burning Ones’ and ‘Live Beyond’ - arpeggios and classic riff structures a-flying – that brings "Life’s Blood" back to contender  status. The ridiculously-titled ‘I Scream For Ice Queen’ isn’t a bad tune per se, I just can’t
 get past that annoying junior high feeling of the song’s name. Then again, I’m a huge fan of DANGEROUS TOYS, so who am I to judge a band by their song titles alone? Time will tell.

And that seems to be the case with "Life’s Blood". On the one hand, if there were an award for Most Improved Between Albums, WIDOW would definitely be in the running. On the other, I hope this is the real band we’re hearing, not a fluke. Still and all, in a world of already washed-up retro “thrash-lite” bands, WIDOW takes the era of classic metal and, for the first time, make it their own.