Black Widow: Sleeping With Demons

What the Devil?!

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Remember when Luke Skywalker finally unmasked Darth Vader in Return Of The Jedi? We held our breath expecting to see the reeking, seething, suppurating countenance of The Epitome Of Evil. But instead we got a sponge-faced old uncle. It’s much the same with Black Widow.

Billed as ‘the groundbreaking, occult, orgiastic progressive hard rock group who were banned by the BBC and besieged by religious nutters when they originally emerged in 1970’, they were, in actual fact, perfectly harmless.

Ozzy once said famously that Sabbath were as black magic as a box of chocolates. If that’s the case, then Black Widow were the equivalent of a half-eaten Dairy Milk strawberry crème. If you’re familiar with the Widow’s most celebrated song, Come To The Sabbat, you’ll find nothing has changed on this inexplicable comeback album. (Indeed, opening track Hail Satan is a virtual rewrite of …Sabbat.)

So don’t expect hellfire and damnation, but simply the sound of druids skipping merrily round Stonehenge, humming nursery rhymes and playing slightly dented penny whistles. That’s not all. The Widow also dabble in disco (That’s When Evil Touched Me) and Quo-style boogie (Partytime For Demons), and when Old Nick himself makes a guest appearance on Radio Hades he sounds like more like Torchy The Battery Boy than the originator of all that is evil.

The year’s most insane release by far.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.