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It’s easy to forgive Widower for taking eight years to finally release the band’s first full-length. For one thing, the group has not been lazy: since forming in 2011, they have released a single and three EPs. Standing out among those were 2013’s The Execration, a two-song concept cassette about a witch that showed the Austin group’s ambition, and The Unholy Oath (2016), five songs of unrelenting apocalyptic thrash.

The band also only recently solidified its lineup. Joining long-time guitarists/vocalists Jimmy Byam and Danny Rabon are Sterling Junkin (Venereal Baptism, Narcotic Wasteland) on drums and bassist Jake Holmes (Churchacide, In Oblivion). This revamped rhythm section pays dividends immediately as album opener “House of the Lord” fiercely gallops before shifting into a different gear. Most importantly, Cataclysmic Sorcery was worth the long wait. Check out a full stream below.

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Cataclysmic Sorcery takes old school thrash metal reverence and blackens it all to a smoldering crisp. Nearly every track breaks the speed limit (and a few skulls along the way), with bonus points for the screeching, gnashing riffs of “Hell Sent” and the triple-timed fury of “Mandatory Immolation.” There are a few deviations from the formula that are just as powerful. “Tree of Ignorance” and “Cosmic Holocaust” offer a baroque feel due to the double-timed guitar riffs, and “Fornicate Upon Mass Graves” is almost straight-forward death metal, the kind of stuff that first emerged from thrash, not unlike Possessed but grimier and darker.

Even those outliers do not detract from making Cataclysmic Sorcery a surprisingly potent album that should appeal to fans of Skeletonwitch and Witchery. Widower might be a shade less melodic, but the band more than makes up for it through sheer force and determination.

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Cataclysmic Sorcery releases May 24th via Black Market Metal Label. Follow Widower on Bandcamp.

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