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Black Widow

Heavy Prog

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Black Widow Black Widow III  album cover
3.55 | 52 ratings | 8 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The battle (10:54)
a) The onslaught
b) If a man should die
c) Survival
2. Accident (4:12)
3. Lonely man (4:51)
4. The sun (4:30)
5. King of hearts (6:41)
6. Old man (9:10)

Total Time: 40:18


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- John Culley / electric and acoustic guitar and vocals
- Zoot Taylor / organ and piano
- Kip Trevor / lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion
- Clive Jones / flute and sax
- Jeff Griffith / bass guitar and vocals
- Romeo Challenger / drums and percussion

Releases information

(LP) CBS 64562 & REP 4241-WZ, CD 1992

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Angelo for the last updates
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BLACK WIDOW Black Widow III ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

BLACK WIDOW Black Widow III reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really. Progheads will appreciate better this one on the strnghts of the mini-suite and the closing number Old Man. I think they are right , but as I said on the review of their second album , the music has lost its happy feeling present on their debut.

I was told that their fourth album is also good and in the same vein but , although recorded in 73 , was not released until the mid-90's . I don't have any info for I never managed to even find it ( never really actually hunted it down )

Review by stefro
4 stars Leicester-based Black Widow were a talented progressive rock band who nevertheless went the way of many other groups who, basically, had the problem of NOT being YES, ELP or GENESIS in the early-to-mid 1970's. The popularity of the genre's top acts meant that smaller, less-well-known groups such as BLACK WIDOW were more-or-less ignored despite the quality of the music they were producing, showing just how tough the music biz is, was and will be until the end of time. Volume 3 was and is undoubtedly BW's finest moment, but even that was not good enough to stop their record label from dropping them. A year later, and after their self-produced(out of necessity) follow-up to Vol. 3 stiffed, the band went their separate ways in search of musical success. And it's a genuine shame. Vol. 3 brims with passion and invention and some genuinely excellent intra-band musicianship. Opening cut, the epic-10 minute journey that is THE BATTLE is a winding, twisting mixture of hard-rock and theatrical prog, telling the story of a wounded solider and his experiences during the heat of battle. The song dashes thru 4 carefully-constructed sections before finishing up in a thrilling climax of creschendoing guitars and drums, showing off the bands style at the peak of their impressive powers. But it's not just long prog songs these guys are good at; check out LONELY MAN, which contains a bass riff that's blacker and funkier than almost anything produced in R'n'B today and would probably have Prince craving to make it his own. LONELY MAN spans 4, ultra-quick minutes and features a rocking flute-solo alongside the groovy guitars. It's a welcome departure for a band who throughout their careers were often compared with BLACK SABBATH and therefore bracketed in the satanic rock/heavy metal category. The albums second half is weaker - closer I WISH I WOULD sounds naff and repetive - but any self-respecting prog fan, be they into YES, PINK FLOYD, WISHBONE ASH, GRAVY TRAIN or GENESIS will find a lot to like about this obscure, flawed gem. Impressive too is the cover art depicting an old, bedraggled and bearded prisoner sitting upright in a dank, dark and dirty dungeon. And get this: IT'S NOT BY ROGER DEAN!!!! But you cannot write a good Black Widow review without addressing the satanic controversy that dogged their career and the sometimes ridiculous, tabloid-esque accusations that made life, at times, very hard for the band. Also, some people call Black Widow a Heavy Metal band, which just isn't so. Yes, some of their tunes have a hard-rock veneer, but they certainly ain'y heavy! It was comparisons like this that irraparably damaged the bands reputation. They did indulge in the odd-satanic knees-up, and some of their lyrics did show an obsession with the darker-side-of-life, but, especially at the time, these points were overblown to the point of being stupid. Inevitable BLACK SABBATH comparisons also didn't help, and in 1975 the group called it a day. Black Widow's history is littered with average albums, bogus accusations and silly mistakes, but, if they are to be remembered for one thing, then this excellent little album should be it. It's a daring, cleverly-played piece featuring a collection of eclectic styles, all expertly-moulded together by a group of musicians who deserved better. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2008
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Time to count the dead

With the band's leading light Jim Gannon leaving the line up after their eponymous second album, Black Widow needed to regroup quickly. This they did by bringing in replacement John Culley and calling upon the talented Francis Monkman (Curved Air, Sky) to help out on keyboards unaccredited. Deciding to simply call the album "Black Widow 3", they set about putting together some new songs without their former principal writer.

The album kicks of promisingly with an 11 minute three part piece called "The battle", a suite portraying the folly of war (a popular theme at the time and of course today). There is a Uriah Heep feel to the first section "The onslaught", mainly through the high harmonies and guitar/organ driven heavy rock. Lyrically, the song is rather rudimentary with lyrics such as "And now the battle's over, time to count the dead" hardly being the work of the bard. It is also noticeable how far removed such thoughts are from the devil worshipping antics of the debut. The track develops nicely through some building guitar work backed by ah-ah harmonies, but rather disappointing fades instead of reaching a crescendo ending. A fine piece though.

After that, it is by and large back to business as usual, with lighter pop rock focused numbers being the norm. That said, tracks such as "King of hearts" do have a prog structure, with altering themes and tempos flowing nicely. The song may have a lightweight feel, but it is well put together. The album closes with a further long piece "Old man" which lacks the fine structure of "The battle", but will nevertheless be of interest in these parts.

In all, a much better album than its immediate predecessor, but still lacking any real identity. The lack of success of this album and its predecessor led to the band's label CBS losing faith in them and terminating their contract.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I quite liked the first two albums from Black Widow. More their debut one, thanks to great lyrics and special mood but the follow-up was not bad either.

When you discover the great opener The Battle you can only be re-assured that the band is still on the good track and develops their great not so heavy (and progressive as well) music as they have always done. It is a highlight of their work, not only from this album.

Most songs are on the good mood, even if the grandeur of the debut is maybe missing. Still, even a short number as Accident is quite strong in terms of beat and melody. Some good old psychedelia is also available with Lonely Man. Huge organ play combined with a sweet flute part are so nice ingredients. The crescendo build is also extremely well crafted. But I am just a lover of this type of song construction.

It is really a shame that commercial success was not on the rendezvous for Black Widow. Only a small database of fans followed them and it lead to the disbanding of the band after this good album (but they will re-unite much later on).

I highly appreciate such music. Of course, a mellow song as The Sun is on the gentle side of their work. Not expected and not really great, I must say. The band is investigating the same sort of atmosphere with King Of Hearts for a while. But at least it kicks on very nicely after a while and this dual aspect is very much of my liking. Another very good song from this album.

The band reverts to some more traditional inspiration with the closing Old Man. Even if the funky feeling prevails, the organ play combined with fine piano make this song to be much more pleasant as it ought to be.

In all, this is a pleasant album (as their previous ones were as well). A solid three stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Every release of this band has a different taste, surely because of the many changes in members, but also because they probably were all the time looking for a style they would feel comfortable with. Actually, the band never hit the streets, but the reason is simple, they were not original, even in ... (read more)

Report this review (#1682903) | Posted by poito | Saturday, January 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Black Widow is often, and quite inexplicable to me, compared to (the likes of) Black Sabbath. I can't understand why and that's simply because the two groups have nothing, or at least very little, in common with each other. Now, it's true that Sabbath came across as quite occult back in '70 an ... (read more)

Report this review (#124569) | Posted by Gruvan | Sunday, June 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The third work released in 1971 "III". It is contrary, and the sound confuses further and is interesting with the jacket of the image like hard rock. In the support of music, the stability and quickness are both excellent rhythm sections. It is overall indifferent in a steady performance thoug ... (read more)

Report this review (#63354) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An essential album to those who want to hear well-written melodic rock (not essentially too progressive or hard).But great songwriting is certainly heard here and extra points to Clive Jones with his sax on "Accident"! Of course they had lost theiir unique identity by now but with these songwri ... (read more)

Report this review (#30443) | Posted by | Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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