Raw emotions that hit at the heart
Kristen Hay, known as her stage name Lingua Ignota, continues to deliver emotion-filled music. Caligula is her first label-released album—having self-released her first two, Let The Evil of His Own Lips Cover Him and All Bitches Die, in 2017. With so many styles and influences coming through, it is hard to place a genre on what she creates. All in all, her music hits hard with the lyrics and raw emotion that pours through and it does not need a label.
The best way to describe her songs are as “survivor anthems.” It is clear through her lyrics and vulnerability portrayed in each track of Caligula that she draws on her own experience as a survivor of domestic violence.
People can hear the rage and despair in the way she sings and they can feel that in the longest track of the album: “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR.” Ignota’s stripped-back, yelling vocals sound like someone in the moment, letting emotions go. Another element that stands out on this track is that it sounds like big, African drums are utilized at the beginning that establishes a somber atmosphere. Throughout the album, listeners can hear many classical elements.
The opener, “FAITHFUL SERVANT FRIEND OF CHRIST,” starts off with over a minute of the same keyboard note that creates the sensation of building up. Then, it gets cut with a soft string instrument melody to create a new, ethereal sound which is not surprising for the classically trained multi-instrumentalist.
In “DAY OF TEARS AND MOURNING,” the beginning sounds like an organ piano that one would find in a church. The echoey notes falsely lull listeners into thinking that this song is going to be soft, but once a minute goes by, people feel the same energy the tracks before exude.
“MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE” showcases both screaming to operatic vocals and the shifts keep listeners engaged. Also, in one part of the song, Ignota underlays a screaming match that clearly shows what she is drawing from. Overall, Caligula is an emotional journey that people can hear and feel. Every track exudes the emotions—rage and despair—that Lingua Ignota puts into them. Sometimes it feels like the songs blend together because the tone of her yelling vocals stays the same, but what she makes people feel outweighs that.