She Spread Sorrow - Huntress [Cold Spring - 2021]
Turning the tables on the male hunter trope so prevalent in power electronics/death industrial, She Spread Sorrow's latest, Huntress, tells the tale of a girl obsessed with another woman. Her fascination reaches a fevered pitch until the huntress can take it no more. Is it real? Is it all in her head? Is it a dream?
Marked by the sullen, low, sweeping drones of death industrial, Huntress lures its prey into it's gaping maw instead of full-on pursuit. This fits the subject matter quite well - not an overt attack, but rather watching from afar, waiting, and biding its time. Flipped on its ear, the female protagonist is based in She Spread Sorrow's (Alice Kundalini) real-life nightmares, stalking prey and putting to music the oft pondered distinctions between love and obsession, fantasy and madness. With some very great mood pieces (reminiscent of late 70's John Carpenter), Huntress captures the stalking, skulking vibe quite well and opens it up at times with throbbing highs and the sparse hits of noise. Not harsh by any stretch, Alice goes for a slow, insidious build up instead of an in your face assault. With hushed, whispered vocals telling the tale blow by blow, the listener is given a front row seat into the psyche of a lurking terror. Thinner tracks than most in the genre, this again allows what is on display to remain in the forefront and not get bogged down by the crushing weight of distortion and flexing. Subtlety reinforces the "less is more" aesthetic and allows Huntress ample room for interpretation and interpolation. The reliance on reverb and delay add the necessary depth and distance as well as echoing (pun intended) the huntress' slipping mental state. Alice's voice is soft and fairly dreamlike, which adds another dimension to the tale - not only in the questionable dream state but also the space to move between all the sonic elements.
Built upon nightmares and dreams, She Spread Sorrow's Huntress is a grim number that stands up well to repeated spins. Does the listener's perspective change with each play? What more can be gleaned about the titular huntress? An interesting and restrained approach, Huntress is a well done slab of dark industrial.Paul Casey