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Witness the Desolate Light of Former Worlds’ “Widow Moon”

Former Worlds - Iteration of Time Album Art

Minneapolis’ Former Worlds debuted with the Photos of Eve IX​-​XVI EP in 2017, defining themselves out of the gate as a unique interpretation of sludge — the EP consisted of a single song telling a story in eight parts, interweaving dynamic vocals into a heavy and textured sound. No telling where the first eight parts of the story went, another timeline perhaps, but now they’ve returned with a new work: four-track Iterations of Time. Check out an exclusive stream of the album’s closing song “Widow Moon” below.

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The moment that the first nasty riff in “Widow Moon” kicks off, a certain form of sludge come to mind: the backed-up-sewers-and-rusty-grates kind where aggrieved shouts coat tarnished guitar tones like poison on a blade. But when the ecclesiastical synths, echoing plucks, and clean vocals hit later on, it becomes clear that this has a strange form all to its own. It exists in an intermingled space that has no obvious name, where abrasive walks hand in hand with the alluring, and sludge’s disillusion meets the impartial tranquility of shoegaze.

The vocals, when not too vitriolic or ethereal to decipher, are unsettling in some primal way. At the song’s quietest moment, Erin Severson (half of the band’s vocals) sings out a conditional statement: “If, then, therefore,” repeated again and again, but before she can explain, the crushing heaviness returns. “Keep them safe,” the subsequent screams insist, offering no context. Balanced against the rises and falls in volume, the interplay of clean and harsh vocal approaches set this apart — while on “Widow Moon” they mostly separate, other tracks find them in an intoxicating call-and-response arrangement.

It’s never too early in the year to listen to something that spurns easy comparison — while ear-shredding distortion and delay-laden interludes don’t always fit together in interesting ways, here they’ve been woven into an enjoyable dissonance with a vocal element that sets Iterations of Time very far apart from innumerable other attempts.

Iterations of Time releases on January 31st via Init Records. Here’s what bassist Mike Britson has to say about “Widow Moon”:

“Widow Moon” was the second song we wrote as a band, almost at the same time as our first song/EP “Photos of Eve.” The two songs sound pretty different, which is why we decided to save it for this release. I’d just gotten my Bass VI in the summer of 2015, and the intro riff just kinda fell out as one of the first things I ever wrote on the instrument. To me, it’s just a really fun song that goes through a few peaks and valleys, with a nice spacey midsection with lots of loops and layers, that ultimately finish with a cascading series of riffs that just get heavier and more intense than the preceding part. By the end of the song, all of us are playing at an intensity that closes things out on a pretty massive note. It makes for a nice conclusion for the album to finish with a similar intensity as it does when it begins.

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