White Widows Pact
True Will

New Yorkers White Widows Pact show a complete lack of concern for the listener throughout the 10 burly, bull-balled face slams and turnpike jams of their destructive debut True Will.  Screaming strep-throat vocals, continent devouring rhythmic grinds, sludgy grooves, hardcore beatdowns, thrash-y malevolence and death metal technicalities collide in a violent mosh pit frenzy that encompasses influences from early Agnostic Front, Crowbar, His Hero is Gone, Sick of it All, Eyehategod, Sheer Terror, Slayer and Obituary.  There’s enough anger here to stump the best psychiatrists and life counselors, while the big bicep production of Dean Baltulonis ensures immediate impact.

The sonic cheese-grating of opener “The Landlord” is overflowing in arcs of dirty thrash/death metal riff arpeggios before ramming a little d-beat justice down your throat.  Guitarists Travis Bacon and Nick Emde never let their riffs stagnate; moving from the above mentioned atrocities into swooping sludge grooves (akin to Crowbar on crack) and chugging hardcore breaks that are far removed from stale, by numbers tough guy tactics.  This shit shuffles tempos plenty and drummer Kenny Appell is behind much of it whether he’s cracking pavement via double-bass quakes or grooving hard on his fills and d-beats.  Brian Ponto is the glue holding everything together, providing a bass-y lunge and much needed propulsion.  Lead vocalist David Castillo is not only co-owner of the legendary St. Vitus Bar but he’s a damn vicious front-man to boot.  His voice is a scathing, insistently crusty scream that fits the music like a hand in a glove.

“Thirteen Years of War” rips into sludgy, damnation doom right from the get-go, culling a catchy groove that could have been pulled from any one of the best Crowbar albums.  Disdainful death metal density rumbles n’ grumbles in a forceful mid-tempo as the band jettisons the raving mad aggression into harmonized guitar snippets and tight little solos in the key of Iron Maiden.  The finesse of the entire band is damn impressive and the multi-faceted wallop stays on its toes.  Castillo employees decipherable shouts alongside the bloody lung screams to vary up his performance just enough.  Mud-caked, descending death metal runs highlight the twin-axe work of “Hangman;” Bacon and Emde letting a surprising amount of melody bubble up beneath the surface whenever they aren’t beating the snot out of you with mucky doom-bombs, stuttering hardcore thuds and freight-train heavy thrash derailments.  Things get downright infectious when “This Thing of Ours” takes the punchy, punk-y churns of Agnostic Front and stuffs ‘em to the gills with thick, gnarly sludge giblets.  Noisy, atonal tremolo shreds reek of slight black metal deviance yet it’s but a red-herring for psychotic, old school metal solo trades and harmonies.

An acoustic “Interlude” appears (at first glance) to provide a traditional breather.  It’s soon discovered that this is not the case as dissonant, hardcore-blasted doom riffage and classic metal melody fronted by Ponto’s sinking bass lines takes the track in an altogether different direction.  A devastating d-beat crumbles to powder in the palms of the rhythm section’s hands during “No Exit’s” frenetic intro.  You can feel the tension tighten to the snapping point into a detuned, crust punk tirade in the grand tradition of His Hero is Gone’s most burly moments.  Of course WWP steeps the brew in liberal dashes of thrash, NYC hardcore, doom and winding lead guitar licks reminiscent of 90s death metal; the track’s lead finale fading out and phasing directly into the pavement pulverizing, slug-stomp of “Blood and Smoke.”  Appell’s lunatic fill patterns and plunging double-bass mule kicks make “Undertaker” a contender from the very first note.  Kenny also throws in a few maddening blast-beats which are a necessary evil in the thrall of the frosty tremolo guitar assaults and creepy minor riffs.  Staccato hardcore welds itself to towering girders of Windstein-ian sludge in the cement slab sundering of “Cruel and Unusual.”  The bass has an opportunity to shine all by its lonesome, setting up an elephantine Sabbath-doom groove as Dave throws-up his vocal chords all over the sidewalk (a few gang back-ups add vintage hardcore flavor).  Closer “The Watch” is a stinkin’, overflowed sewer of potent sludge though WWP are never content to let the pace linger too long.  The song ends after 4 minutes though the track-length is over 9…hmm, I wonder why?  Take a listen and tell me what I missed!

True Will is a badass first release.  WWP are a damn fine band and their versatile songwriting tactics coupled to a heavier than thou delivery give them a ferociously original sound when stacked up against possible peers.  Overall, this record is enjoyable as fuck and you can bet I’ll be back for repeat listens and an eventual purchase of a physical copy.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
October 9th, 2015

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