Band – King Woman
Album – Celestial Blues
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Doom Rock
Release Date – July 30th, 2021
Label – Relapse Records
Author – Serena
“…My name is Lucifer, pleased to meet you…”
Emerging from a four year long sleep, King Woman is finally back with a second full-length album bearing the name Celestial Blues. King Woman presents to us a “[reshaping] of biblical archetypes,” according to their Bandcamp page. The cover art of Celestial Blues, set to release at the tail end of this month, depicts lead singer Kris Esfandiari with a bare back exposing the wings she has been stripped of. Despite this, she stands with a triumphant hand covered in a gleaming latex glove, wielding a lit cigarette.
“…the next thing I knew
I was falling fast
Lightning hit my wings…”
“Coil” starts the album off with excellent drama; a hushed tone recollection of the stepping stones that led to a life changed. Esfandiari whispers, “my life is no longer mine,” as Peter Arendorf plucks out a few echoed strings. A fuse is lit and Joseph Raygoza’s drums tumble in. The song rumbles open and the stacked vocals hang in the cavernous space in between. The second track, “Morning Star,” recounts a fall from grace with an awareness that once you’re at rock bottom, you can only go up from there. The vocals are layered, harmonized, slithering out over the dirge of somberly-plucked strings until the drums come a-rolling in. This track is accompanied by a rather stellar music video that captures the hazy sway the music provides.
The vocal line on “Boghz,” the third single released this month, is just breathtaking, especially with the subdued instrumentals in the beginning. The breathy, soft vocals lead up into quick bursts of shouts emphasized by the bellowing drums.
“Here’s what I’m gonna do…
Get down on my hands and knees for you…”
The shouted vocals are wonderfully muddied up and then replaced by eerie howls that bleed back into a sorrowfully sung verse.
“You know this is a lie…
Shot down by the arrows above…”
“Golgotha” opens with weighty, sinister tones. King Woman’s lightly sung harmonies never fail to impress.The song is a slow burn up until shadowed screams take over, and then there comes a heavy release that has the instruments moving about in circular motion like a slow-motion dance. The guitar notes twirl out and the drums gradually increase in speed until the track ends like a quickly fading light. The whole album is rather striking, and it teeters between earth-shattering heavy riffs straight on through to glittering shoegaze sounds. It’s an unexpected, but welcome direction from these doom rockers.
Recommendation: Being a fan of King Woman’s debut release, I was already interested in what this album had to offer. I was not at all expecting this, but I am absolutely in favor of it. From the thunderous energy of “Coil” to the chugging thwacks that accompany the heart-wrenching lyrics of “Ruse,” this album has a little something for everybody.