Dave Grohl’s Dream Widow is the ultimate love letter to extreme metal

Album review: Dave Grohl swaps the Foo Fighters for grindcore, sludge and black metal on Dream Widow

Dream Widow - Dream Widow
(Image: © Roswell/RCA)

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Dave Grohl's metal record. That's the elevator pitch for Dream Widow and, putting aside the fact he already did that with Probot almost 20 years ago, DG is seriously showing his love for all things extreme as a tie-in to the Foo Fighters' horror comedy Studio 666

Lead single March Of The Insane split fans between the camps of "Dave Grohl can't/shouldn't make metal", to "Why the hell is Dave Grohl making metal?" to “Actually, Dave Grohl making metal is great". But all the commenters forgot one thing - Dave Grohl doesn't give a fuck what you think, he'll do what he wants and have a great time doing it.

Dream Widow is testament to that, every track buzzing with an excitement and love for metal that honestly puts a lot of bands to shame. There's anachronistic old-school black metal (think Midnight, Bathory and Venom having the time of their lives), frenzied, furious grindcore that comes on like Napalm Death being covered by Fantomas, Saint Vitus-style doom, Alice-In-Chains-meets-Crowbar sludge, Metallica-esque stadium riffing and epic Sleep style stoner, all neatly packaged together. 

It sounds like something that should be an utter mess, but Dave Grohl isn't one of the world's most renowned musicians because he's a friendly face (that's just a bonus). The man has a keen ear for tone and pacing, meaning Dream Widow comes off like the best metal mixtape of bands you've never heard.

It‘s understandable that we haven't heard this kind of thing from the Foo Fighters. But while more overtly extreme tracks like March Of The Insane and Encino will induce terror into the kind of person who think the Foos are already at the extreme edge of music, but the vocal melodies in songs such as Cold, The Sweet Abyss and Angel With Severed Wings (which offers the best scream/clean vocal mix we've heard in years) feel like they could absolutely could slip in to the heavier end of a Foos set alongside X-Static and White Limo

The real shame of Dream Widow is just how much fun you'll have listening to it, knowing that these songs might never get howled back in a sweaty club or stadium. But then, Dave Grohl has proven time and again that he marches to his own drum - so why not? After all, there's no greater testament to heavy metal than cranking the dial up and screaming with a crowd.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.