CD Reviews

Black Widow - 'Sleeping With Demons' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 19, 2012    
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A rather good offering.

Somewhat bizarrely, the band that courted controversy with 'Come To The Sabbat' from their 1970 debut album, ritually sacrificed a nude virgin at the climax of their stage show (sorry, Blackie; they were doing it first) and wore out whole dictionaries looking for words to rhyme with Satan started life in Leicester in the Sixties under the name Pesky Gee before going over to the dark side and attracting comparison with, but sounding nothing like, Black Sabbath. Trying to widen their appeal they found themselves off the highway to Hell and on the open road to oblivion and just three albums later (the last being finally released posthumously in 1997) it was all over.

But you can't keep a good demon down. OK, so it's as scary as a Scooby Doo episode and more camp than Christopher Lee in 'The Wicker Man' but 'Sleeping With Demons' -- released on 31st October, naturally -- sees original member Clive Jones (now handling vocals, saxophone, flute and keyboards) re-united with Geoff Griffith (vocals, guitars, keyboards and harmonica) under the name Black Widow for the first time in a stonking 38 years. And what they've cooked up is a rather good offering.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Much has been made of the involvement of journeyman vocalist and ex-Sabbath frontman Tony Martin, but The Cat only appears on opener 'Hail Satan', a song that is truly diabolical. I'm sure in this day and age grown adults do still chant "hail, hail Satan", but in twenty-first century metal circles it is a tad passé, and not an encouraging way to make you sit still for the following fifty minutes (despite, I'll grudgingly admit, possessing a certain Seventies' charm). However, after this piece of Poe-faced skulduggery 'Sleeping With Demons' comes into its own and reveals itself to be a veritable heavy rock smörgåsbord with nods towards the likes of Nazareth, pre-MTV Alice Cooper and mid-Eighties Blue Oyster Cult.

Alongside the more straightforward rituals like 'Sleeping With Demons' and 'Run For Your Life' Jones and Griffith show that they're not afraid to lampoon the genre either, with the humorous self-referential lyrics delivered by original female vocalist Kay Garret who gets all foxy on 'Even The Devil Gets The Blues'. There's a fabulous sax solo in 'The Portal To Hell', it's impossible to sit still during the rock 'n' roll rave of 'Partytime For Demons' and 'That's When Evil Touched Me', and best of all to my mind comes at the end of the disc, where the bonus track 'Evil Clock' is a real cracker. Originally written for Agony Bag -- anyone remember the annoyingly infectious 'Rabies Is A Killer'? -- the band formed by Jones after the demise of Black Widow, the song is a classic piece of schlock rock.

I'd be lying if I said I'd missed Black Widow all these years, but I'm kind of glad they're back!

John Tucker

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