As the clock turns systematically through these clamoring rings of cymbals and drained vocals, King Woman takes an inevitable march toward sonic damnation. Each step acts as tracks on their 2017 release Created in the Image of Suffering where screams into the void are placed to be artistically rewarding as their methods become dramatically refined in both high and lows.
King Woman has this everlasting truth behind their sound that dawns new life at every turn. The record is started by a digital exclusive, “Citios” where whispers grow by lead vocalist Kristina Esfandiari where she continually repeats “Created in the image of suffering” before static noise overtakes her voice to this whirl of mystery. Then as “Utopia” begins to stack the bricks of overarching and pulverizing dread, King Woman becomes less ethereal and more concrete. Esfandiari’s lyrical approach is still layered behind walls of apparitional views, but the instrumentation is punishing and physical.
They essentially tackle a continuous flow with Created in the Image of Suffering where each puzzle piece connects more than the last. As these pieces are beginning to congregate together and find a perfect balance of both tension building and rock solid reprieves, King Woman quickly climbs the ropes to become a centerfold of engagement. “Shame” is progressive in the way that the vocals act like siren songs which draw the listener in as the instrumentals are often wars within percussive stations. No barriers hold a grasp on Created in the Image of Suffering even as each track holds a familiar ground that is approachable even under such daunting weight.
Hitting all the major key points of being an arsonist’s wet dream, the fun of King Woman is seeing how they can balance all these monumental efforts into one tightly wrapped and clockwork-esque package. The tracks that King Woman decide to unleash as an arsenal become tarnished and undermined for just how gorgeous they actually are. On Created in the image of Suffering, there are immense amounts of dirt that cover the piece in grit and this thick soot. With that leftover material comes the blanketing of what stands out as a simply beautiful writing and instrumental manipulation.
One of the last tracks on the record showcases this synonymous dichotomy of gentle builds that leads to a bitter demise. “Manna” begins small, with only two noises coming from the vocals and reverb on the guitars before everything crashes together with a foundation of performance. The percussion is slowly added in until every single sound becomes utilized and finally transcribed into this grandioso of draining proportions.
Broken bones and materialization from darkness becomes King Woman with a black and white styled mantra that is minimalistic but still impressionable. Their work stands to crack walls, create undertows within their own world, and shatter impressions from the jump. As the body crumbles around them, Created in the Image of Suffering strains and fights for one last grace of sunlight against the harsh black they face.