King Woman – “Shame”


Through her band King Woman, Kristina Estfandiari presents a new, necessary icon of female power for the current day. Informed but unfulfilled by a prior legacy of women’s music (folk’s room of one’s own, the greater visibility permitted by alt-rock,  riot grrrl’s clarion rage), Estfandiari magnifies an intimate voice of pain through suffocating blocks of metallic force. “You can’t even look at me/Hide the shame that’s in your eyes,” she sings in “Shame.” Sadly, in 2017, railing against theocratic patriarchy remains a goddamned evergreen topic, yet Estfandiari’s choice of musical weapons speaks to the growing desperation and emerging complexities — we’re talking King Woman, not Queen Woman — in advancing the pursuit of emancipation.

King Woman create their arresting sound out of two reference points. From doom metal the band draws on the crushing dynamics, creeping tempos and sense of dread, but there are no riffs here to speak of, never mind the sausage party of metal’s traditional gestures. From shoegaze they inherit the projection of emotional withdrawal and melodic instinct against disorienting walls of sound. In this moment of epidemic addiction and civil discord, however, the stakes of withdrawal are now much starker, much higher. King Woman’s debut album Created In The Image of Suffering points listeners toward horizons of hurt and anguish that not everybody may be ready for. But ultimately this destination promises healing — or, at the very least, a satisfying sense of vengeance.


Created In The Image Of Suffering is out now on Relapse Records.

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