Following up on the gorgeous (and epically titled) A.H.A.T.H.H.A.F.T.C.T.T.C.O.T.E., True Widow take their sound in a more propulsive direction with Circumambulation, the Texan trio's debut for Relapse Records. While True Widow are still working in their signature blend of stoner metal, drone, and shoegaze, they change the formula up with an increase in tempo. While not exactly fast, there's a certain momentum to the album that's hard to ignore, especially given the somewhat glacial pacing of their earlier work. By always moving forward, the band closes up a lot of the wide-open spaces of its earlier work, making the songs here tighter at the expense of the beautiful tones that could be found when D.H. Phillips' shuddering guitars were allowed to ring out a bit more. By filling in these empty spaces, however, True Widow have made Circumambulation a denser listening experience that pulls listeners along with it rather than allowing them to wander through it on their own. This shift tips the balance of styles more in favor of the shoegaze end of the spectrum, allowing the band to work more with layering sounds and letting them build on one another rather than ring out. So while the album might not reach the heights and depths of True Widow's previous effort, it's a fantastic album in its own right that finds the band tweaking a proven formula rather than just sitting back and making the same album again and again.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney