For a long time when you thought of the doom genre you would immediately think of a group of ageing men, long hair and never a smile would cross their sullen looking faces. However, things they are a changing. Over the past few years we've seen several doomy groups emerge that break that mold. Recent offerings that spring to mind are the wonderful Black Moth and last years’ revelation of Kroch. Gone are the grumpy old men and in come fresh young women with a passion and enthusiasm for the music like none before them.
Both of the aforementioned have started setting the world alight with a new perspective on this slice of the heavy metal pie. So it is with anticipation I look forward to the new album from King Woman. Headed up by Kristina Esfandiari former front woman of San Francisco shoegaze standouts Whirr. Created In the Image of Suffering is the first full length album from the ensemble as a follow up to 2015’s critically acclaimed E.P. Doubt.
The album itself will be a delight to fans of the both shoegaze and doom, a lot darker than the bands that have come before. From the outset of Utopia there is a slow paced down tuned buzz to the album subtle guitar licks accompanied by deep, throbbing bass lines but steered delicately through by Kristina’s haunting vocals.
The track Shame is a wondrous example of atmospheric doom with lashing of luscious shoegaze vocals. But what really hits are the heavy influences of a certain Mr. Nick Cave. The song would not be out of place on the legendary singer/song writer’s albums and it’s hard to say he hasn’t influenced this group. Hierophant continues in a similar vein with the Nick Cave influences melding into doom overtones.
Whilst we have concentrated on Kristina’s input so far, we should not forget the other elements of the band. Colin Gallaghers guitar work breathes life into this opus, elegantly soft letting the bassline lead the heavier tone. Peter Arensdorf, bass and Joey Raygoza, drums really infuse the doom into the tunes helping the overall sound become almost genre defining in its own right.
The album is rounded out by songs Worn, Manna and Hem and heads full-on into doomsville getting heavier and darker by the track rounding out 39 minutes of a shoegaze/doom laden masterpiece.
Fans of the genre’s will lap this album up, and its style and elegance could well open up the slice of the pie to others who so often would overlook such offerings.
Released on 24th of February, the band hit these shores for a UK tour in April prior to an appearance at the Roadburn festival.