It may take a week, but King Woman's latest album will get stuck in your head.Relapse Records, 2017
8.0 / 10
One week earlier…
Like Oathbreaker and Deafheaven, King Woman mixes shoegaze in with the heavy on Created In The Image Of Suffering. Unlike those two bands, no frenetic release comes in any of these tracks. The mood is intimate rather than epic; sharing as much with doom metal as with ’70s confessional singer-songwriters and ’90s grunge. “Manna” particularly sounds like Alice In Chains at the jump and aspects will remind older listeners of Hole but with better vocals.
No solos appear. This would normally be a drag for a down-tempo metal album with 7-minute-plus track lengths just for the sake of keeping the listener interested. In this case, it’s nice to hear a metal album where they decided the most appropriate solo was none. The album’s plentiful vocal hooks carry the album. Those hooks are drowned in reverb and probably recorded while lit only by red candles but hooks nonetheless. “Hierophant” really made me want to drink red wine in the dark, which is not a thing I do.
My first few listens were hopeful, but it’s really when you let Created In The Image Of Suffering simmer that it gets under your skin. There’s something subtle and soft in here that you don’t often find when you look for similar artists. If you’re into Chelsea Wolfe or Windhand, there’s a good chance you’ll be into this. By comparison, King Woman’s music is warmer than Chelsea Wolfe and more focused than Windhand. This album is a good intro to heavier female musicians or even metal bands that aren’t metal but are still kind of metal. You’ll get it when you hear it.
I score it 6.5 / 10.
One week later…
My initial assessment that this album is a grower was correct. It is now a part of me. I am part of it. There is no escape, nor do I seek one. “Hierophant” has greeted me upon waking each morning. Not in headphones, not over any airwaves, inaudible to all but me and me alone. It echoes from somewhere both within and without. The darkness is warm as it enfolds me, inviting. I welcome it unafraid, pleading for its caress. In the distance, the whistle of a ghost train echoes between autumnal moon-soaked valleys and I know I am home. We all float down here, triumphant in our heresy.
New score above.