King Woman
Created In The Image Of Suffering


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dewinged USER (35 Reviews)
March 22nd, 2017 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shoegaze is doomed.

Kristina Esfandiari has lived many lives. As the former singer of San Francisco shoegazers Whirr, she participated in the EP Around, during the band's twilight period, dragging their sound into the darkness that she already knew so well. She then began to explore her most obscure and personal facet with her solo project, Miserable, releasing two albums in the spam of 2 years: the EP Halloween Dream in 2015 and her first LP as Miserable, the enticing Uncontrollable in 2016. And finally here we are, in 2017, witnessing her most evil reincarnation up to date, the accurately called King Woman, in which Kristina breaks free from her shackles and fully gives herself to the charms of doom metal and psychedelic occultism.

Created in the Face of Suffering is King Woman's debut after the spare release of some singles and one EP and it constitutes the first work through Relapse Records, although it's a project that has been going for around 4 years, specifically since the release of the single Degrida/Sick Bed. Onto the album, the first thing that stands out from CitIoS is the magnificent artwork, courtesy of Brazilian artist Pedro Felipe, who has also worked with other Relapse Records bands like Dewolff and Christian Mistress. The Cthulhu familiar monstrosity that breaches through CitIoS's cover could very well represent the absolute metamorphosis that Kristina's voice has suffered in this project, a transformation that has mutated her vocal chords to an abyssal low register. It's a conscious decision that fans of Whirr and Miserable may not be very happy with, since the change in her singing technique is pretty substantial and, to an extent, hard to swallow on a first listen. On the other hand, this comes not as a surprise as she had already began to explore this register with Miserable’s latest release, experimenting with her shoegaze roots and subjugating them, resulting in a voice that compliments perfectly the darker and oppressing soundscapes of King Woman's music.

The excellent production by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Oathbreaker) gives shape and soul to eight harrowing tracks that fluctuate between a "surrealistic Black Sabbath fronted by Mazzy Star" kind of sound, as described in their bandcamp page, and somber shoegaze extracts and droning psychedelic fuzz. Right from the opening of "Citios" and the following "Utopia", Kristina takes her shoegaze heirloom, smashes it against the floor and stomps it with heavy confidence, paving the way to "Hierophant", the undeniable peak of King Woman's debut, an 8 minute elegy to suffering split in two whose entrancing and melancholic second part is one of the most beautiful and moving passages of the album.

"Worn" and "Manna" prove that King Woman is far from being a Kristina Esfandiari solo project. Instead, the whole band works like a well-oiled machine to deliver massive riffs, steamrolling all the way to the outer "Hem", the longest and heaviest track of the album, and probably the song that has the most balanced mix of shoegaze and doom that King Woman is trying to convey.

Created in the Image of Suffering is a solid and strong debut for a band that could be very well opening a rather inaccessible style like doom metal to a wider audience, same as Oathbreaker did in their fantastic Rheia, the latter being more focused on death and black metal endeavors, so it's no surprise both bands are touring together. Definitely a night I wouldn't allow myself to miss out.



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user ratings (69)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
March 22nd 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I am sick and weak, so any corrections will have to wait until tomorrow, cause I am exhausted.



I just wanted a thread to cry with someone while listening to Hierophant.



I am loving this stuff: https://kingwoman.bandcamp.com/

Digging: Azusa - Heavy Yoke

evilford
March 22nd 2017


41804 Comments


Nice rev pos'd, checking these guys/girls out soon I hear they're good

Dewinged
March 22nd 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks a lot Ford, I have a soft spot for female fronted heavy stuff so this came home on first listen. Her voice could be/will be divisive, I am sure of that, but I hope you like it man.

evilford
March 22nd 2017


41804 Comments


Thanks looking forward to it. You heard my dig? More female fronted heavy stuff, excellent album

Dewinged
March 22nd 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Acid King? I haven't! I've heard the name though. Gotta check it out.

Dinosaur
March 22nd 2017


1289 Comments


yeah this is cool. I like Doubt better, but this probably needs more time. Cover art is sweet.

Divaman
March 22nd 2017


3069 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Might have to check this one out.

Digging: Lisa Loeb - The Very Best of Lisa Loeb

Dewinged
March 22nd 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album is dope. Diva, if you never heard these guys, jam the first track and jump straight to Hierophant. If you like those 2 songs go for the rest of the album.





Dewinged
March 23rd 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Actually I should have rec'd Subrosa too on the review.

Wildcardbitchesss
March 23rd 2017


1916 Comments


Saw them live opening for Oathbreaker last week. They were definitely good, just can't get into their records much. Good review tho pos

And if y'all like female fronted shit check my dig out. They aren't that heavy tbh but they make some pretty bangin rock music

Dewinged
March 23rd 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the pos dude, I'll check your dig, sounds interesting.

RoundOnEndHiInMiddle
March 23rd 2017


898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

very nice. i appreciate the way you incorporated the way her voice has changed as a way of showing how dark her music has been getting. little details like that really bolster reviews, so great job. pos

Dewinged
March 24th 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers Jones, you know I'm a big fan of your sound off(s) so appreciate it.



I really like her singing style in the album and the two tracked voice she recorded gives it such a gloomy and heavy feeling. Unfortunately the experiment doesn't translate as well when she sings live.

Dewinged
March 26th 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Hierophant" going down as my favorite song of this year.

Dewinged
May 15th 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Bumped the rating cause this is so. fucking. good. Growing more and more in the last couple of months. I am fully possessed by it.

Divaman
May 17th 2017


3069 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Liked it OK, but it didn't blow me away. Glad I checked it out, though.

Dewinged
May 17th 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for checking Diva, it took me quite a few spins to get passed her voice style, but once it connected, damn! I really enjoy the album now.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 6th 2017


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is so much worse than the ep

Dewinged
August 7th 2017


12257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I like the EP too, but I prefer the direction they went with this one better. You checked her stuff as Miserable, Pots?

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 7th 2017


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have noto, no. Just heard the ep before this which toe seemed to have a lot more character where this just got a little too hung up on the perceived gimmick that that gave them in their rep. It's just a lot less passionate.



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