Venomously Elegant Dark Sounds From Doomstress

by delarue

One of the most unexpectedly welcome trends in heavy music over the last few years is that more and more individualistic women are fronting doom metal bands. Doomstress are one of the best. Their sound is slinkier than most bands in that netherworld can typically conjure, and frontwoman/bassist Alexis Hollada doesn’t just wail at the top of her lungs. If you like slashing minor keys, haunting heavy sounds and twin guitar solos, Doomstress are waiting for you. Their debut album Sleep Among the Dead is streaming at Bandcamp.

The album’s opening track, Bitter Plea, is a galloping southwestern gothic-tinged groove. “There’s no escaping the past,’ Hollada sings, guitarist Brandon Johnson multitracking hazy leads over minor-key crunch punctuated by drummer Tomasz Scull’s heavy foot.

The second track, Burning Lotus is the album’s most vintage Sabbath-influencd track, although it’s faster than most of that band’s iconic songs. Johnson multitracks ominously lingering acoustic and electric leads over Hollada’s elegant blend of chords and single-note lines as the Dreaming Spider gets underway, following a trickily rhythmic, subtly venomous upward drive.

”You’ve been deceived,” Hollada snarls in the shapeshifting Your God Is Blind, a slap upside the head of warmongering religious nuts, rising to  a spine-tingling outro. The slow, majestic Bones and Rust continues that vengeful theme, Johnson’s crunch and snarl in both channels. “Shallow breath, but the mouth is wide,” Hollada taunts.

The album’s most epic track, Apathetic Existence has spacerock vastness, a shout-out to a classic Sabbath theme and a raised middle finger to the “crumbling mechanisms of power.” The final cut is the title track , a sadistic, grand guignol take on ba-BUMP noir cabaret. No wasted notes or silly, florid guitar solos, just relentless anger and cynicism in these classy minor key anthems. May this band last long enough to put out another great album before it all comes crashing down.