Early in the record’s 40-minute runtime, Celestial Blues takes a title cut and like a maddening surgeon, begins the lacerations to the body which not only damage but isolates the skin of the listener. Kris Esfandiari, the lead vocalist of King Woman has been busy with side project after side project, stemming from NGHTCRWLR to Dalmatian, creating a steady flow of work even far beyond the minds original thought.
Her operatic and angelic vocal descriptions with King Woman, however, coincide within Joseph Raygoza’s mostly drowned percussion and the roaring strings from Peter Arendorf’s guitar. Together as this onslaught of sound, King Woman is about illustrating extreme peaks and intense valleys through sonic ability.
The following piece “Morning Star” is this biblical description of Lucifer’s fall from heaven as this castaway of an angel that loses his wings. Esfandiari weeps and moans more than sings on the track and gives poetry to the metallic undertones. Illustrating, “Am I, far from God? Morning star? The next thing I knew I was falling fast. Lightning hit my wings, heard thunder crack. Pride had infected the depths of me.”
While bordering on the idea of Paradise Lost seems like the inspiration for much of Celestial Blues, the instrumentation is almost as devilish as the writing and performances. Especially on the midpoint of the track “Coil” which makes a quicker stab into the void instead of these sluggish crunches and clashes.
“Coil” instrumentally is articulate but is also the closest thing that King Woman gets to being this overwhelming aggressive force. As described from “Morning Star” previously, thunder cracks the wings of the audience and they are dragged down into these depths where “Coil” is a warped monster that awaits new prey. Both Raygoza and Arendorf are spectacular as the foundation, giving Esfandiari a morale stage to describe, “Five wounds to take me, five wounds had me dead. Five wounds you raped me, but I resurrect.”
In nearly the same breath, King Woman erupts into this chorus where now shouting through the feedback, Esfandiari illustrates, “They want me gone, well best of luck. I’ve already pass, I’ve been raised up.” Rarely shouting to this caliber through the rest of Celestial Blues, “Coil” stands out as a testament to obliteration and the dichotomy that King Woman is able to possess.
But still, as monuments seem to crumble in their wake, King Woman takes Celestial Blues and counterpunches to become its own sentient being. Not a sequel to their other records, King Woman writes their own version of Faust but gives more than just souls as a result.