Friday, February 20, 2015
Karyn Crisis' Gospel of Witches
I was a fan of Karyn's band in the 90's this was back when the only other female fronted band that played dark and heavy music was Fear of God. So i was looking forward to this album. First thing that stands out is Her melodies sound more assured and her voice is even more powerful now than it was on the first Crisis album. "Alchemist" is the first real song following the brooding intro piece, showcases her She assemblage of great music guys from Tombs, Vaura, and Danny Walker of Intronaut sitting behind the kit. Her husband Epel Duath guitarist Davide Tiso handles the bulk of the guitar on this album. This was not what I expected as it carries more of an organic big rock sound Her melodies slither between the chord placement. The more organic rock feel of "Ancient Ways", sounds more like Intronaut than any of the other components making up this band.
There is there a weird blend of alt-rock and thick chuggy metal on "Aradia" . It has hints of System of Down, in the tight slickness. The songs are smoother rides than Crisis. She jumps around from register to register and focuses more on singing than she did in Epel Duath. There is a slight nu-metal meets doom element to the creepy feel of "Mother". Ross Dolan of Immolation's backing vocals are most effective in the chorus of this song. Logically the next branch on her family tree is "Father". Rather taking the Jonathan Davis route she goes a more spiritual route looking at some of the father figure deities. There is a power ballad quality to "Goddess of Light".
She displays her keen sense of making odd angular melodies work in her favor and the entire sound finds just the right balance in the process on "Howl at the Moon". At three minutes "Pillars" proves to be timed for rock radio and it's not too crazy that it wouldn't fit along side Flyleaf or the Gathering. The almost pop hooks is not what I was expecting, but the songs are very well written, so it has an almost an A Perfect Circle quality in that regard. I find my self pretty forgiving of commercial qualities when they are handled this way though, I am not sure if it would fly with the kids over at Cvlt Nation or even No Clean Singing.
Despite the excellent vocal performance "the Secret" feels like it is more of an interlude/ intro into "Salem's Wounds". It would not be either fair nor accurate to compare the song to Chelsea Wolfe even though they both incorporate dark electronics and ghostly vocals. The guttural vocals serve as a good cue for the song to build with a throb. The flow of double bass on "The Sword and the Stone" off set the almost shoe gazey glaze that throws more of this dark pop against a more ominous Cocteau Twins dynamic.The vocal melodies are sugary sweet even with deathly gutturals as the undercurrent beneath.
It ends with a slow dark drift layered with more of her subtler , yet still amazing melodies, she lets the guitar do more of the heavy lifting here, at times making me feel like I am listening to a satanic version of Muse. Karyn's vocals continue to go from a belt into a growl as needed . I'll go ahead and round this one up to a 10 and see how it sets with me , because all of the songs are pretty much perfect , I was just caught off guard at how un-metal some of the melodies are, but they work and it's great music no matter what genre it is or isn't . It's hard to be a marginal fan of hers , but if you are familiar with her work in any way or that of the musicians backing her then this album is worth your while.