“The Unholy Oath” is the 3rd EP from Austin, Texas band Widower. Ignore that thrash metal tag that Metal-Archives has placed on the band because from the opening moments of “Morose Delectation”, this is pure black metal. This means that sadistic, tremolo-picked riffs are featured prominently throughout the EP, alongside tons of blasting, and a high-pitched shriek. Though not achieving 90s-Norwegian black metal levels, the production is similarly far from perfect, yet admittedly quite fitting. This doesn’t mean that there are no traces of thrash, however. In fact, the very same track mentioned before, “Morose Delectation”, has a wicked thrashy breakdown in the latter half of the track. This is a common theme throughout the EP: most songs are dominated by black metal sounds (with slight leanings towards the more melodic side of the subgenre), yet out of nowhere, there will be something with a bit more aggression that doesn’t quite rely solely on tremolo-picking. The sole exception to this is “Unholy Force”, which kicks things off with the thrash before delving into black metal.
When the band does mix things up, the results are fantastic. Widower’s drummer shows he can move his way around a kit quite well; in his moments without blasting, he has some relatively unique cymbal usage. These sections also allow the guitars to move around a bit more. One great example where both of these elements come together is about 3 minutes into “Immortal Lament”, where the heaviest riff of the album is unleashed as a galloping force, which is complemented by perfectly synced cymbals. "The Council" stands out because it has some nice heavier riffing that brings to mind a band like Destruction.
“The Unholy Oath” is an EP that is both well written and properly executed. The thrashier sections of the release are far superior to the black metal sections, but whether that is due to the appeal of variety, or simply my extremely strong preference towards thrash is unclear. What is clear is that Widower offers up enough of both sounds to keep all fans satisfied, making “The Unholy Oath” a valuable purchase.
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3.8/5 or 76%.
Written by Scott