King Woman
Celestial Blues


4.5
superb

Review

by Dewinged STAFF
August 1st, 2021 | 237 replies


Release Date: 07/30/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: My name is Lucifer, pleased to meet you.

Imagine being at a party minding your own business, mingling, chilling, or getting helplessly hammered when, out of nowhere, a stranger hands you a copy of John Milton's Paradise Lost. The average human being would tear apart the pages and smoke half of the book right there to make a statement but not Kris Esfandiari. For the voice and brains behind NGHTCRWLR, Miserable, Dalmatian, Sugar High and who knows how many more projects, the timing was impeccable.

Because, you know, it turns out there was already a gruesome battle raging inside of Kris, an eternal carnage carried out by the forces of heaven and hell since the moment she was born. Growing up in a heavily Christian environment only served to feed the flames of war throughout her youth, seeding doubt, hatred and spiritual conflict themes that would become the driving force of her art, shared among the different personifications created by the New York based Iranian musician and producer.

King Woman's second full length for Relapse Records might as well be, not only her best work up to date, but also the ultimate reunification of her distinct incarnations in one big, explosive package. Embodying the figure of Lucifer, Kris has created a stunning musical piece that transcends the music and spills into the visual presentation of the primordial fallen angel's tale of demise. Celestial Blues is an album of biblical proportions, in every sense of the word, with a series of very well-chosen collaborators that have contributed immensely to make this one of the best albums of the year so far.

We all have heard what Jack Shirley is capable to do with bands like Amenra, Deafheaven and Oathbreaker, just to name a few, but he has outdone himself designing the sound for King Woman's sophomore release along with Esfandiari herself. The project's debut, Created In The Image Of Suffering, was already a colossal slab of doom with brushes of shoegaze, mesmerizing and wonderfully destructive, but this second album expands even further on the same formula with a superb performance on vocals by Kris, who has amped her register greatly, and an overall improved production work, especially on the drumkit, firmly handled by Joseph Raygoza. Standing ovation also for Peter Arensdorf, who has handled both bass and guitars for this recording covering for former and absent King Woman’s axe man Colin Gallagher.

Celestial Blues opens up with Kris whispering around a monologue, an awakening that kicks off the title track with the singer's landmark harmonized but solemn singing being hit by the first volley of drums following a crushing riff that sends Kris howling and mourning the "celestial night". "Morning Star" follows through but the tone is quite different from the harrowing lament of the awakened and once divine of the title track. Here, Kris radiates with confidence, an image enhanced by the striking visuals created by photographer Nedda Afsari and designers Jamie Parkhurst and Collin Fletcher for the cover and its music video. The captivating and strangely alluring Lucifer of "Morning Star" vanishes, leaving the stage for third single "Boghz", which mixes Kris Esfandiari's different personalities, ranging from the sweet melodies of Miserable to the sickening wrath of NGHTCRWLR surfacing and taking hold of the song with staggering precision.

The core of Celestial Blues hides the heart-breaking "Golgotha", which allows for Kris' most fragile singing to play around with arhythmical bars eluding Raygoza's steady snare beat. Once the track finally explodes, Kris' savage screams burn the back of the song while the front vocals veil them with the melancholy that guides the song, now with the cello of Jackie Perez Gratz (Graceyon, Amber Asylum) drawing the few traces of color of the album. "Coil" is easily one of the most flammable cuts of the record, short and fierce, touching on grunge and Life of Agony's River Runs Red era’s blazing sorrow, while "Entwined" is the secret gem of Celestial Blues, a retelling (I believe) of the fusion between Kris and the celestial being that here sings and lives through her to bring vengeance and joy in equal measure, as the track escalates into an increasing euphoria that flows into the twisted lust of "Psychic Wound", which as you may have seen already, illustrates this unholy communion with shivering detail through its music video,

The ending section of the album features two very different tracks. "Ruse", which could have been perfectly fit into the band's debut, as it evokes the old sound combined with a forlorn vocal melody in between the heavy-hitting parts, and of course, the angelic "Paradise Lost", which I guess we have the party stranger to thank for, as it sends off the album into ascending to (or descending) to a realm far beyond our reach.

With these two songs, Celestial Blues comes to an end and disappears in the ether leaving only its otherworldly taste to linger. Kris Esfandiari and her team have created something truly special with this album, a musical piece where the divine is given voice and flesh to envision what is Kris' most honest and enrapturing work of her prolific career, and be sure it won't be the last one.




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user ratings (132)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


25686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Surprise! I love this album, AOTY contender, blah blah.



https://kingwoman.bandcamp.com/album/celestial-blues



I'll add the video links in a sec.

Digging: Lamp of Murmuur - Submission and Slavery

Slex
August 1st 2021


12154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album so much

Digging: Trophy Scars - Astral Pariah

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 1st 2021


2785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

PLEASED TO MEET YOU, HOPE YOU GUESSED MY NAMEEEEEE



Album slays, may well get bumped to a 4.5 soon. The first half is great, but Coil into the second half is as good of a stretch as I've heard this year.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


25686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The closer might be the only weak track for me, although it closes the album nicely. Title track, Morning Star, Entwined... Crazy good album.

Gyromania
August 1st 2021


32948 Comments


HYPE

LeddSledd
August 1st 2021


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is something

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

It exists!! Gonna spin the album and read the review tonight

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


25686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very intrigued about what you think of this brother.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
August 1st 2021


8890 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

IT IS OUT!

Grrrrrrrreat rev my man, will peep. You misspelled Deafheaven at the beginning of para 4 though :]

Digging: Full of Hell - Garden of Burning Apparitions

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


25686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah it was on purpose, to fuck with them fans



(will fix, sorry ;/ )

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


3740 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ooo, I like her stuff with Miserable and Sugar High. Gonna read and check later. :3

Lasssie
August 1st 2021


949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Coil owns

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


25686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awaiting your imminent fixes with my mouse hovering the Edit option, Blush my man ;)

Sowing
Moderator
August 1st 2021


39127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"The average human being would torn apart"



Small typo



I didn't really read the review yet but what a good intro paragraph...yet again. Will finish this review (and the album itself) soon. I listened to it once but was distracted the entire time. It sounded really interesting.

Digging: The Felice Brothers - From Dreams to Dust

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2021


25686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Whoa that ain't a typo, it's a perfect grammar violation of the English language, tx Sow, fixed.



This second album is definitely more welcoming than their debut, so I hope it gets out there cause it's really good stuff. Hope you have a good time with it!

parksungjoon
August 1st 2021


35754 Comments


>PLEASED TO MEET YOU, HOPE YOU GUESSED MY NAMEEEEEE


x my name is lucifer take my hand

Digging: Controlled Bleeding - Distress Signals

WatchItExplode
August 1st 2021


9253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Intense album! No real weak points here except perhaps the closer as you mentioned. Morningstar Golgotha coil and psychic wound are my initial standouts.

Pho3nix
August 1st 2021


1157 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

So this is where your avatar is from xD at first I thought it was Kabal from Mortal Kombat

Hatework
August 1st 2021


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wasn't too excited about it first listen, but it kept pulling me in. Now I love it.

kevbogz
August 1st 2021


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

atta boy dewi

Digging: Portrayal of Guilt/Chat Pile - Split



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