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Black Widows - Among The Brave Ones Award winner

Black Widows
Among The Brave Ones
by Andrew Harvey at 17 January 2023, 5:42 AM

The journey and history of this gothic metal band BLACK WIDOWS have gone from strength to strength since their formation in 1995, with a lineup of; RUTE FEVEREIRO on vocals, XANA on guitars, VANESSA on bass guitar, MARTA P on keyboards and finally CHRIS on drums. They began their musical careers as a band with demo one in 1996, then another demo in 1997, two new members were also brought in. Unfortunately the band was almost shattered by the untimely death of CARLA MARQUES which led to two members both taking their leave from the band. But the two remaining members, both vocalist RUTE and drummer CHRIS being also the two original members, wanted to keep the band active. The band went on to the opportunity to record their first EP titled DARK SIDE OF AN ANGEL in 2001.

Their debut album then came at long last titled SWEET…. THE HELL in 2002 and in 2004, three members of the band took their leave including original member CHRIS leaving RUTE as the only remaining member. Three new members joined in on the next lineup as the year of 2005 came by as the band began writing new songs as they took to the stage once more for more concerts and shows with the new lineup including a BLACK WIDOWS ARISING tour in 2007.The year after the band did bring in a new member on keyboards, but in 2009 the band decided to take a break from music and it probably seemed like the band didn’t intend on writing any new material. However in 2018, the band were brought back by RUTE the founding member of the band and a new lineup of; MONICA RODRIGUES on keyboards and SOLANGE CAMPOS on bass guitar.

Drummer at this time was AILA PORTUGUES but then she was replaced 2 years later in January 2020 by MARTA BRISSOS, the band began once more to write new material which then led to their second album to date, but first since returning to the spotlight. This new album was to be titled AMONG THE BRAVE ONES quite an appropriate name considering their remarkable journey since the passing of their former keyboard players. The album opens with “Black Orchid '' as we hear the rapid fire of drumming fills and thrills, before the vocals come, whether they are clean with higher notation or low attacking black metal style, both show the contrast and dynamics of this intro track. Electric guitar also runs alongside as the drums plough with bass guitar in tow, even high end vocal echoes go well with spoken word not for long though.

We can also hear thrash style guitar riffs and blast beats that are so loud yet they are very much the forerunner even though vocals are so varied in tone from one section to another. From an all-female band, I have to say this intro track has exceeded my expectations and we continue on to hear hints of the opening drum and bass guitar duet at the start. Onwards then into the next track which is “Schizo” containing wicked guitar riffs and drums that certainly project so well for vocals to embark on another journey of operatic or gothic themes. The evil and crazy vocal ruptures through the track on different points where they can expose the raw talent of what they are capable of. Shattering drums pulsate as ever throughout the track and guitar has its windows of opportunity to express their true nature.

With a long vocal roar at the end as we head into the next track, “Among The Brave Ones”. A short piano sonata is brought to our attention only for the more progressive and hardcore elements like electric guitar and drums to become so much more as.  Cry of help from vocalist prolongs for a short time in this track but normal characteristics or features in this track carry on as we hear more spoken word with drums creating that crescendo for guitar to just swoop in as fast paced drum patterns continue. Waves come crashing from cymbal hits and vocal screeches or whispers of mischief or misdemeanour as we go into the next track which is “Philosophy Of Fools” as a symphonic intro is interrupted abruptly by drums or guitars pumping out low end blows of gothic menacing gestures.

Drums dominate over all that sits below them with vocals in the surface beneath, then guitar vibrato and vocal tuition are in control of this passage of play. Another phase of war torn vocals shredding through the tracks core values of mixed classic rock and gothic rock as we hear from guitars as well as drums reminding us there is no sign of slowing down. The slower sections allow vocals or guitar to show off their competence of what makes this track awesome, as drums provide the bass or low end drive of thumping throttles. “Electrify Me” as a bass guitar intro allows electric guitar and keyboards plus drums to commandeer this fifth as we are halfway through this album, vocal gasps and haunting emotional leaps of vocal range do so well as they are very effective.

Once more drums are the motivator and pounding persistence the track needs to keep the overflowing energy to soldier on as vocals whisper again which is a nice touch as well. The monstrous vocals are the eclipse of what this band has done so well in this track as we head into the next track which is “I’m A Monster”. This sixth track has choral chants, cymbal hits and guitar blasting through the layers of instrumentation with a crescendo on drums before the full band unison is heard. Rumbling drum patterns are heard as both vocal lines either reach high angelic notation or low satanic roars of excitation. The contrast in the vocal range is quite exquisite and the mix of the two is very well balanced together with all the other instruments, one section where the drums accelerate briefly for screeching vocals to echo.

Drums and guitar especially picking rather clear notes as they carry on with vocals creating the atmosphere for the next track to come in, which is “Drowning”. The seventh track has epic guitar solo work before drums roll in with a smooth percussive pattern with cymbal hits as well then raging vocals come back to dominate as electric guitar shares the narrative. The track does begin to slow down and allows the vocals and drums to become more symbolic and clear as day for the listener, as there is even a bass line together with a synth sound effect but not for long. “Dead Heaven’s Vibe” has a hardcore guitar sound to it as drums do pelt along at a fast tempo with vocals also showing their mixture of high end shrieks and low end filthy vocals as they both go very well with other instrumentation adapting to the tone of vocals.

A long scream like a horror rock vocal part but it doesn’t last too long with the accompanying instruments as they continue with drums or electric guitar coming through more as we head into the next track. “Forgive To Forget” is the penultimate track with piano at first then a full blast of gothic guitar and vocal work is at large before a riveting section full of punch and nastiness to it as bass guitar pushes through with drums. More vocal harmonies are heard with the lead vocal part as drums push the limit and create a climax then electric guitar solos for a short time as drums also take a time to pounce once more. “Eden Denied” as another keyboard sound is active then drums come marching in with electric guitar and bass guitar also to form the full band unison as vocals follow suit.

A crescendo builds up in this final track of the album as we hear the hardcore and gothic influences very clearly especially in the guitars plus the vocals as ever are insane but in a good way, they speak volumes as this is the strongest part of the track. The guitars merely carry the melody and tone of the track as they have done so yet drums are so impressive that it is hard to not give them credit even keyboards also make a nice contribution. Overall this album has certainly given a lot to take away all positive and definitely one of the best gothic bands I have heard, their dedication to the music they write and produce is absolutely stunning to listen to and such a work of art it is almost like a painting that’s just full of colour and textures that mix so well.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Black Orchid
2. Schizo
3. Among The Brave Ones
4. Philosophy Of Fools
5. Electrify Me
6. I’m A Monster
7. Drowning
8. Dead Heaven’s Vibe
9. Forgive To Forget
10. Eden Denied
Lineup:
Rute Fevereiro - Vocals and Electric Guitars
Iris Prado - Electric Guitars
Solange Campos - Bass Guitars
Monica Rodrigues - Keyboards
Marta Brissos - Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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