Formed in 2009 as a solo project by Kristiana Esfandiari, and quickly turning into East Bay heavyweights after the 2014 release Doubt, King Woman has returned to once again claim the doom throne that is rightfully theirs. Carefully bringing an array of influences and approaches to this recording, what they have achieved is an album that reaches points outside of the doom/shoegaze realm.
Created in the Image of Suffering is a smouldering and unforgiving listen through and through, and is the perfect backdrop for Esfandiari’s haunting yet absolutely gorgeous lyrics. “Shame” and “Deny” provide the album’s overall tone which is chock full of relentless droning riffs that are reminiscent of the early days of Pelican. The absolutely crushing midway point, “Hierophant,” is by far the stand-out track. The 8-minute climb to an explosion is the perfect harmony of the band with Esfandiari.
A major point on this release, and one that is not to be missed, is the presence of Kristiana Esfandiari. She is a supernova on this album, and no matter how heavy and rising the band may be getting, she is there as the driving force with lyrics that chill to the core. Esfandiari, among an ever growing group of women, is the perfect example of the rising powerful female presence we are seeing in the doom/stoner scenes.
While it may be a bit bold to say that gone are the days of snarly and guttural vocals pumped out by bearded frontmen, this is yet another example of how a female presence will not only rattle your bones, but also send a record soaring. And, after all, isn’t that what doom is all about?
Created in the Image of Suffering Track Listing:
Run Time: 39:00
Release Date: February 24, 2017