High Priestess - Casting The Circle

10 Apr 2020 - Thorsten

Psychedelic-Doom | Ripple Music | Release date: 10 Apr 2020

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A very tasty, well-laid out menu with doom and psychedelic is served by L.A.-band High Priestess. But it’s no Laurel Canyon, yet also no Watts.

An all-female doom trio out of Los Angeles is called High Priestess – well what kind of music would you expect? Certainly not any kind of Death Metal or RnB, but rather some kind of psyched up rock following in the footsteps of some occult doom. That is also more or less the only stereotype that Katie Gilchrest, Mariana Fiel and Megan Mullins fulfill. The three definitely have something to show for their record, or rather records because Casting the Circle out on Ripple Music since April 10th is their sophomore release after their eponymous 2018 debut turned some heads in the doom community.

There are some things very special about this trio making them stand out from a lot of the doom bands of the late 2010s. The three know how to write really good songs no matter the length, sometimes they come up with short three-minute-ditties and then again they are not afraid to write the (rather self-explaining) 17 minute opus “Invocation”; the five tracks together span 42 minutes of brilliantly lit, well-clad doom rock that shares in the glory of the genre.

Another brilliant feature of the band is their three voices sharing vocal duties so that very often one gets the idea of a Hydra-Headed sorceress standing before one’s feet luring the ears, mind and soul into an unreal safety net, just before the lullaby-like ritual turns into the gigantic that has been woven only to give the multi-eyed spider the chance to strike with chants like “Satan is not dead” or ideas of time and decay when they talk about the “sand in the hourglass” that slowly falls down leading to both – the end of time and of being.

Musically there are seemingly simple guitar phrases layered upon each other with some awesome sixties vibe-spreading keys – both delivered by the hands of Gilchrest. The rhythm section seemingly wants to go unnoticed because Fiel and Mullins both give a tight performance that leaves the ground paved for the seductive melodies to go straight through one’s ears into the subconsciousness dwelling there for quite a while and removing all other things no matter how important from our agenda.

That might be one of the most impressive things about this record – it seemingly has no agenda, it’s not made to impress in a blasting way, it’s just there and through its surface simplicity is able to seep into your heart and soul sending away everything else. Candlelit doom at its best!