October 22, 2016
Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
Texas. Merely uttering the name of the nation’s 28th state is likely to elicit an immediate reaction out of most people, whether positive or negative. Smoky barbeque ribs, oil tycoons, Austin hipsters, rough n’ tumble cowboy culture, “Everything’s bigger here” boastful swagger, goth-inflected stoner rock, football cheerleaders--- wait, was that other one? Ahh yes, the stoner rock. Many great bands are touring the dives and club stages of the Lone Star State and beyond, proving that Texas is indeed bigger than the clichés and home to a thriving indie scene. Dallas’s True Widow are standouts among them.
Before the attending the show, I listened to their 2013 LP Circumambulation and came away with the impression that the three-piece specializes in slow-simmering stoner metal, an artier High on Fire or meatier and less-digressive version of Isis (the Boston-based alt-metal band, not the Islamic State). The fact that they’re signed to noted metal label Relapse also suggested they preferred throwing up devil horns to shoegazing. Yet, their live show at Denver’s Larimer Lounge upended those expectations. I was taken back by a thick wall of sound, but one without the bone-jarring heaviness of their more metallic peers. True Widow is like an experimental concoction of Joy Division, The Smiths, and Type-O Negative, stirred together into a dense, viscous syrup. They played cuts from past efforts, including Circumambulation, plus songs off their new album Avvolgere. Nicole Estill and Dan Phillips traded vocals while Timothy “Slim” Starks steadily pounded the drums to the beat, a tight ensemble that never lulled but always broiled.
True Widow refuses to be boxed into any category and that freedom allows them to explore new styles and sounds that other bands might not. Regardless of your feelings toward their home state, they warrant a listen with open ears and, hopefully, a taste for the kind of melancholic lyrics and grinding melodies long favored by burnouts with graduate degrees.
Article By: Steve Lustig