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Black Widow (Rock)


When word got out back in 1970 that a prog-rock band in Leicester, England, was choreographing black masses to Hell's crown prince Astaroth onstage, climaxing with the seeming sacrifice of a naked woman, folks started worrying and clergymen waved bibles and crosses outside their concerts. On questions of doctrine and ceremony, Black Widow were said to consult Alex Sanders, a Wiccan high priest. "In Ancient Days," which opens their 1970 debut, features incantations above an eerie Hammond B-3: "Ye lords of the watchtowers of the South, I do summon, stir and call ye up to witness my rites." "Come, come, come to the Sabbat, Satan's there!" goes their best-known song, a minor hit in England. Some fans confused them with Black Sabbath, whom they barely sounded like at all (closer to Jethro Tull, if anybody -- lots of flutes); in fact, it's said much of Sabbath's early bad rep was based on the mix-up. And even in Black Widow's case, the occult stuff receded over the course of three LPs, though posthumous releases such as Return to the Sabbat and Live -- Demons of the Night Gather to See showcase their early creepiness.
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