Suffering Isn’t Something You’ll Feel With this Album
A purging of the mind, body and soul, music is an often-used outlet for the internally tormented. As an opportunity to launder one’s innermost struggles, be them major or minor, this creative avenue breeds a particular level of relatable content for the most weary of egos to become immersed in. It is with this that Kristina Esfandiari – the baritone beaut that fronts Bay Area, doomgaze outfit King Woman – bases her fervent songwriting. The band’s followup to their 2015 Doubt EP, which also happens to be their debut full length, Created in the Image of Suffering, gives an even deeper look into the battles many of us face.
The predominate thematic aspect ruling over Created in the Image of Suffering is a fight with faith. Some believe in a more spiritual realm while others turn to organized religion as a source of comfort in its belief of an upper power. Esfandiari’s challenge with this can be seen just by looking at the track list of the album alone. Song names include not even lightly veiled titles like “Shame” and “Hierophant,” all nods to the pains of dealing with a powers up above. The thematic ills of the album aren’t just expressed in the song names, though, but also in Esfandiari’s vocal delivery. Her glum and sultry voice carries throughout Created, huskily rumbling through tracks like “Deny,” where downtempo, heavy instrumentation carries her vocals like wind depressively blowing tumbleweed. And in the heaviest song on the album, “Utopia,” the band’s reverb-laden, shoegaze tendencies lead pounding drums with driving force.
Created shows its softest side on the closest thing to a ballad the album has to offer with “Worn.” My Bloody Valentine haziness meets Chelsea Wolfe-esque drones as Esfandiari sings, “I wish somebody would’ve told me / cuz the past you can’t get back / feels like somebody wore me / there’s a deliverance I lack,” as she maps out her desire for redemption.
The quarrels riddling Created in the Image of Suffering are deep and introspective, but help sustain King Woman and their full length debut as one of the breakout releases of the year.