Album Review: King Woman – Celestial Blues

Album Review: King Woman - Celestial Blues
Reviewed by Matthew Williams

King Woman features the songwriter and vocalist Kris Esfandiari, who was once described by Rolling Stone as a “tour de force of gloom and woe” and its easy to see how she earned that reputation, as this collection of songs embodies a theatrical tale of rebellion, tragedy and triumph, a metaphor for her own personal experiences over the years.

In a sea of predominantly male fronted doom bands, Esfandiari is a refreshing change, as she brings her own unique style of heavy sludge, with a touch of sadness and sorrow in the sometimes low and husky vocals, with whispering incantations that would bring anyone under her spell, and this album is sheer brilliance from start to finish.

Album Review: King Woman - Celestial Blues

Opening track 'Celestial Blues' kicks off the epic journey of atmospheric doom, drawing you in with its soulful vocals, before 'Morning Star' sets more of a dramatic tone, with Esfandiari delving deeper into her charismatic Christian church upbringing, and discussing Lucifer’s fall from grace.

The haunting vocal performance is wonderfully assisted by the beastly drumming of Joseph Raygoza and heavy-laden guitar sound of Peter Arendof and continues throughout the next few songs, 'Boghz' and 'Golgotha' with 'Coil' delivering a masterclass in delivery and song writing about her religious upbringing, spewing that “Five wounds you rape me/but I resurrect”. The song is short, sharp and direct, and my favourite track on the album.

The powerful songs continue, 'Entwined' is haunting and melodic, with subtle musicianship letting the vocal take control, before 'Psychic Wound' talks about her provocative and tormenting dance with the devil, with harrowing lyrics “when I’m spread on the bed/you remain the luscious fruit”.

The album is wrapped up with 'Ruse' and 'Paradise Lost' bringing an end to an album full of cacophonous groove, crescendo, intensity, subtlety, and sombre moments of sheer unadulterated brilliance. This is a definite album of the year contender.

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