Shoegazey doom project originally started by vocalist Kristina Esfandiari, after releasing three EPs Esfandiari has enlisted a few more members, been snatched up by Relapse records and teamed up with the producer of Deafheaven and Oathbreaker for a debut album. A tour de force in doom rock, Created In The Image Of Suffering is overbearing and hypnotic.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 20 February 2017
King Woman are standing at the state borders of shoegaze and doom, linking arms. Led by vocalist Kristina Esfandiari, their heavy, gutted low-end is given a surreal imaginary landscape from its crackling textures and distant production. This record makes true on the heavy suggestions of predecessor ‘Doubt’, crunching the chords like numbers and tumbling the riffs downward in a slow descent that recalls the sludgy aesthetics of Sunn O))) meeting a modern retelling of classic Black Sabbath.
And Slowdive are there? Not really, but the shoegaze is more than just a gimmick: in fact, it’s more than just shoegaze that actas as this record’s gatekeeper. There are degrees of separation in King Woman’s distorted and dismayed sound, their floatier layers on tunes like “Shame” keeping the doom at a distance. Coming at us from far away, their climaxes become a few thousand times more intense, the tune’s post-rock blowout bringing their slow, dense riffs to the fore as Esfandiri’s sighs become deeper and more pronounced. The song’s followed with a bleeding ballad that incorporates strings underneath its fuzz, suggesting the weeping neo-classical of Dirty Three circa ‘Ocean Songs’.
King Woman may have doom at their core, but this record is reaching for so much more: it feels cinematic in the piano thrums of “Worn”, for instance, while the record’s closer has the very same overreaching furiousness of Have a Nice Life on ‘Deathconsciousness’ -- bleak, filmic metal with pop hooks and a never-ending reach for the stars. My life was given monumental meaning listening to this so I might have to keep playing it forever.
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- Created In The Image Of Suffering by King Woman
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