Just when you thought the fetid underbelly of extreme metal couldn’t get any more spiteful or misanthropic, along come Dragged Into Sunlight: four Liverpudlian lunatics desperate to remodel your face. They say: “A sound akin to snapping the bones of the weak and crushing their shrunken skulls.” We say: “One of the most immersive and harrowing extreme metal bands in the UK.” Put the two together and you get pure aural assault.
No sooner had they carved out their credentials, however, than mutterings about change began. Combining doom, death, black and sludge metal, their fawned-over 2009 debut, Hatred For Mankind, was a 10-ton juggernaut of hate so impossible to follow that they haven’t even tried. So if all you’re looking for is Part Two, prepare to be disappointed. Possibly.
A single 40-minute track broken into three sections, Widowmaker abandons black metal almost entirely, with doom, sludge and even apocalyptic post-rock atmospheres dominating a desolate, desperate trawl through depression and death. The blatant misanthropy of their debut has been turned in on itself, uncovering a profound self-loathing. Whether they continue down this dismal path or redirect their ire at the rest of us, the results are sure to be devastating.
For now, this is a markedly altered experience – there’s a full 15 minutes of clean guitar soundscapes before vocalist T even opens his mouth, and almost nothing tempo-wise above a mid-paced trundle. After a mid-section that’s relentless if carefully reined in, the climax when it comes is surprisingly forgiving. It’s more like a rap over the knuckles than full-on assault, but a brave move nonetheless.