Doomstress. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
It wasn’t too long ago when I first recall hearing doom metal, or at least I remember what we called stoner doom. The genre, which has reached an epic level of sub-genre names, usually gets littered with bands that steer further and further from the more metal sounds of the traditional theme. Sure, there were and always have been stoner rock bands, but in the doom metal world, there are few who echo the past metal leanings of many while sounding original in their approach. When I heard about the Doomstress project originally, I was pretty excited to hear what Doomstress Alexis would bring under a new project. The new band, simply called Doomstress, takes cues from bands like Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy, and adds a murkier tone that sounds like its bellowing from the depths of hell. The digital EP, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds, while only two songs takes you to a place that sounds like a mix of the past and present to craft its own sound that sticks in your head after the first listen.
The opening track, “Way of The Mountain,” starts strong and goes hard out of the gate. The squealing guitar alongside chunky riffs and Doomstress’ own vocals create a mixture that’s hard not to like. Doomstress’ voice pierces through the murky notes like a sword through paper and the guitar meanders along like a headless horseman fleeing in the dark of night. The crazy thing about the song is that it clocks in just a hair under six minutes, but never feels like it runs too long. When the band plays through the chorus, it creates a sound that’s heavy and melodic at the same time, while the Sabbath-like riffs never feel copied.
They follow with the spacey, muddy flow of “Sleep Among The Dead.” The thick riffs that get pierced by lead guitar remind me of how Pallbearer brings together elements of sludge, doom, and stoner rock. About halfway through things pick up speed and the song takes on a life of its own. The band really forges their own path while the throwback vocals of Doomstress herself will send chills down your spine as the guitar trades between wandering storyteller to head-banging riffs before introducing a penetrating solo, which eventually finishes off the song. However, there’s more here where the band echoes the caustic intensity-driven song structure of bands like Big Business while still utilizing the epic and grandiose vocal prowess of singers like Dio and Halford.
There’s a lot happening here with this band that takes the metal of the past and marries it with the stoner rock and doom of the present, crafting a sound that’s more futuristic than most of what you’re hearing today. The limited edition 7” for “Way of The Mountain” comes in two versions, both available on Halloween through DHU Records. The EP is available from the band on CD here, or digitally here. You can catch Doomstress when they play this Saturday October 22 at the first End Hip End It Festival in historic Old Town Spring. The all-ages, all-day fest has gates at 11 am and tickets run between $45 and $85. Doomstress is set to perform on the 8th Wonder Brewery stage at 12:10.