A lot is said about how uprising doom metal groups seem to be using new-fangled ways of embracing spiritual enlightenment and heaviness at the same time, particularly focusing on the seemingly endless amount of influence subjects such as the Occult and the writings of Lovecraft or indeed Poe can bring. However, there are fewer groups which will collectively admit that doom metal doesn’t have to be a way of seeking indivudualistic strengths or weaknesses: a band can merely have fun with what they do, and not try to say anything which would otherwise cause controversy amidst the public.
For King Woman frontwoman Kristina Esfandiari, the idea that music should only ever be a medium of exploring the emotional impact of its creator seems limiting, and often hesitant. This is perhaps why the band’s debut effort, Created in the Image of Suffering, feels so laidback and relaxed, whereas many of the band’s up-and-coming peers strive to indulge in crushing atmosphere and soul-destroying musicianship. The debut album is only forty minutes long and feels very gentle, very easy-going throughout. Its dreamlike state seems eternal and at the forefront of the delivery is Kristina’s layered, mesmerizing vocal prowess. Songs such as the more straightforward “Utopia” and “Deny” emphasize how well Kristina can channel her chords over simplistic doomy rhythms, whereas the lengthier likes of “Hierophant” explore a more bluesy, laidback style.However, none of it really connects because the majority of the songs here seem to lack something truly groundbreaking, if only to set the band apart from the all too similar crowd. The riffs are at times almost extreme, such as the outro of “Utopia” or the mid-section thrum of “Manna”, but because of this seeming hesitation never quite unfold. Kristina’s vocals are notable because of their severe impact on the recording itself, but as dreamlike as the result is, it’s easy to get swayed and somehow forget what you just listened to if the slightest distraction occurs. That said, the addition of playful violin interludes in “Manna” are very well-placed.
Created in the Image of Suffering isn’t King Woman having faltering footsteps: the band have been together for quite a few years, and their debut album isn’t their first piece of official music. However, this still gives the impression of a band trying to be too relaxed, as if the slumberous result of the instrumentation doesn’t really matter, and it seems as if it’s been left to Kristina’s vocal melodies to fill the void. A fairly forgettable piece in place then, but one which certainly isn’t without its charms.
Released: 24th February, 2017