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Doomstress - "Supernatural Kvlt Sounds" (CD/EP)

Doomstress - "Supernatural Kvlt Sounds" CD/EP cover image

"Supernatural Kvlt Sounds" track listing:

1. Way Of The Mountain
2. Rainbow Demon (Uriah Heap cover)
3. Sleep Among The Dead
4. Wicked Woman (Coven cover)

Reviewed by on June 29, 2016

"Brandon Johnson’s riffs follow a peak-and-valley format, rising to dizzying heights only to come crashing down with the impetus of a mid-winter avalanche."

Alexis “Doomstress” Hollada has made her mark on the Houston metal scene, releasing three albums of powerful doom metal through grandiose, sorrow-laced groups such as Project Armageddon and Well of Souls. She’s also a staple in the area’s fetish scene and fronts a fitting group for that culture, the industrialized Vendetta Diabolique. The Houston Press twice nominated her for Best Female Vocalist and now with her “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds” EP, she returns with members of Project Armageddon for her initial solo album.

Consisting of two original tracks and two covers, “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds” shows the deep-winded singer produce a sound that is both rooted in classic hard rock (think Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Rainbow) and later, doom-dirge bands like Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Cathedral. The mix works remarkably well as Hollada and her ensemble have created heavier updates (especially in the guitar tones) to classic songs. While these tracks were particularly heavy for their times and retain a mystique that can’t be lost through the ages, these songs are light when compared to the amp-pushing volume and course tones of today’s heavy metal.

Doomstress’ cover of Uriah Heap’s “Rainbow Demon” updates the band’s sound. She definitely recreates this song in her own unique style, but never strays too far from the original vision. The pace, catchy rhythms and memorable refrain are still intact, as are the bell tolls, but where the original is a keyboard driven tune, this cover places the guitars in that role. Doomstress also covers late ‘60s occult rockers, Coven, which was essentially a possessed version of Janis Joplin. Her version of “Wicked Woman” once again instills a heaviness into the song that was simply unheard of in 1969. Hollada shows her vocal prowess in her emulation of Jinx Dawson. She has the ability to hold long notes, but doesn’t have the unhinged quality of Dawson, who was extreme before “metal” was even a term. Also, the track’s modern production loses the vintage mysticism heard through Coven.

The alluring aura found on “Wicked Woman” manifests itself from the from the album’s first, gigantic chords. This number is an ode to the magical draw of earth’s grandest structures, mountains. “Way of the Mountain” begins with the enthralling verse lines:

“When the moon is right, I can feel the Fates calling me
I can’t deny your deep burning down inside.”

Brandon Johnson’s riffs follow a peak-and-valley format, rising to dizzying heights only to come crashing down with the impetus of a mid-winter avalanche. “Sleep Among the Dead,” the other original track, shows the band hitting its best grooves. Like a tranquilized lumberjack, the group chops out long notes that fill the air with an ominous presence. However hypnotizing these rhythms are, the band makes sure to proceed with strong transitions through raising the tempo, which also showcases memorable chorus lines. Phazer sounds and distorted bass kick result in a spacey-yet-ominous opening.

Project Armageddon supporters already expect to hear something worthwhile with Doomstress’ first chapter, and they do indeed get that. The band’s songs should appeal to anyone who loves down tempo dirges and epic vocals. They covered two great songs and totally made them their own. It will be interesting to hear the band produce more original material as they continue to grow and create music under the banner of Doomstress.

Highs: Impassioned vocals and catchy guitar riffs.

Lows: While the group's visions of classic numbers are powerful, the album could benefit from more original material.

Bottom line: Doomstress and her mates in Project Armageddon know how to pen interesting songs.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)