The 25th of March 2022. A date that will live long in the minds of rock fans worldwide as the day we all came face to face with Dave Grohl's inner metal god. The portal between worlds is now open Dream Widow has been unleashed, and all we mere mortals can do now is listen and accept our fate.
Released today, the 'lost album' from the fictional band from the Foo Fighters' very own horror-comedy Studio 666, Dream Widow is Grohl's grand offering to the metal gods, an exorcism of the more extreme musical demons that have been residing in his mind, and after attending a virtual pre-release listening party, we can confirm it is one hell of a time.
Across eight tracks and 42 mins, Dream Widow sees Grohl (occasionally joined by guitarist Jim Rota, and keyboardists Oliver Roman and fellow Foo Fighter Rami Jaffee) deploy his vocal, guitar, bass and drumming chops on an exploration of the metal landscape, forging together elements of thrash, black, death, doom, sludge, stoner, glam, extreme, classic and alt-metal, resulting in a release destined to end up the most unexpected entry on even the most discerning of metalheads year ending 'best of' lists.
A celebration of Grohl's genuine love for metal in all of its forms, Dream Widow was pre-empted by the single March Of The Insane in February and that tracks melding of thrash and death metal is central the Dream Widow DNA, serving as the building blocks from which the rest of the sonic chaos is birthed.
Opener Encino blasts into your ears with a barrage of sounds that bridges the worlds of Slayer and Devind Townsend together as Grohl lets rip with some screams that'll awaken the demon inside of you. Cold calls to mind Mastodon, Alice In Chains and KYUSS, The Sweet Abyss conjures some of the dirtiest southern rock riffage this side of an Every Time I Die record, accompanying it with some seriously sinister black metal vocals and a chorus that has more than a few Ghost vibes. Angel With Severed Wings combines occult rock verse vocals with the Iron Maiden gallop and an expansive arena rock chorus that is kept metal with some spooky screamed black metal harmonies. Come All Ye Faithful is the best Metallica song in a long, long time, with Grohl doing Hetfield's rhythmic right hand and signature vocalisations a worthy tribute, the solo on this song by Grohl himself, much like the rest of the record showcases his considerable ability as a guitarist.
Becoming's dense opening calls to mind Aussie's Portal. Fans of Studio 666 will be pleased to know that the infamous 'L Sharp' riff appears to anchor the 10-minute closer Lacimus dei Ebrius a song that weaves in and out of metal genres in a chameleonic fashion, calling to mind Bathory, Saint Vitus, Baroness, Testament, Led Zeppelin and Blackwater Park era Opeth. Despite all the reference points and obvious homages Dream Widow manages to remain its own unique entity and a large part of that can be attributed to the strength, variety and quality of Grohl's vocals, which, much like the rest of Dream Widow, shred so much harder than they have any right or reason to.
Recorded at Studio 606 with engineering from Darrell Thorp, Oliver Roman, John Lousteau and mixed by Thorp at 101 Recording with mastering from David Ives, Dream Widow sounds every bit like the 'lost' metal classic it sets out to be, with just enough dirt and grime to give it that sinister, dare we say it 'possessed sound'. There's a credit given to Alistair Christie for being the 'tone Imagineer' and whatever that means, it clearly worked, coz the tones on this thing are to die for. Grohl had to know the metal purists would come for this release, what they didn't know is that like us, they'd walk away impressed.
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