Heavy isn’t necessarily about the gravity or weight of sound. Sure, most of what’s described that way involves tons of distortion and rhythm sections that feel like cavern walls falling on you. But there are other ways to assign the descriptor “heavy,” and emotional impact certainly is an element that qualifies.
Lisa Cuthbert is proof of this. Here on “Hextapes,” she weaves haunting melodies, her ghostly voice, and heart-pounding drama to prove that over these eight songs, she sure as hell is heavy. The music was released digitally last spring, but in accordance with her upcoming live shows, underground metal powerhouse Iron Bonehead is releasing a vinyl version, which is very much fitting for these great pieces. She has played with heavy hitters including Sisters of Mercy, Draconian, Ulver, Wovenhand, and more, and her solo work is In the same vein as Chelsea Wolfe, Kate Bush, Myrkur, and Anna Von Hausswolf. Cuthbert gets inside your veins and blackens you. The songs are lovely, chilling, and bloody emotional, and every trip with it is something that you’ll never forget.
“Killing Fields” starts with noise simmering and her mesmerizing singing, bringing some PJ Harvey-style allure. The song hovers overhead and threatens soaking rain before fading away. “The Host Wants a Parasite” has Cuthbert’s vocals shrouded in a quivering cloud of sound, while the dark, shadowy pace stretches like a ghoul, and the comparisons to Wolfe come rushing to the forefront. The final moments feel like being enveloped in dark, with Cuthbert’s voice stinging. “Under the Stars” has steely guitars and a moody ambiance, as the music takes on a mournful, lonely feel. The fire keeps burning gently throughout its run before it bows to the night. “Eye” has enchanting, layered chorals, feeling like an old-time dream viewed in black and white. Synth creates a haze, and Cuthbert achieves a sort of gothic soul vibe, with her singing acting as the song’s biggest muscle.
“Will” has pianos splattering and a trance-inducing path, as everything feels like it’s making its way down a hidden, funereal stream off to the land of the dead. “Effigy” is the longest track, clocking in at 7:44, and it starts with winds whipping, guitars creaking and sending shivers, and the pace gently flowing. Her quiet voice soothes and guides you into a psychedelic ambiance, which keeps your imagination on high as it works its way into the stars. “Pillar” has a jolt of nighttime coldness, like you’re rambling in a car on a cold night with the windows open. The singing grips, while the music washes over your brain as you drift off into dreamland. Closer “Hands Clean” has pianos, her singing, and a rush of sounds heading into a psyche cloud. “You’ve done your part,” Cuthbert insists, as the music swells, strings strike, and everything disintegrates back into the earth.
Lisa Cuthbert’s name should spread to more people now, and deservedly so. If you were late on discovering “Hextapes,” then now’s the perfect time to introduce yourself to her darkly adventurous world. This vinyl edition is the ideal way to experience Cuthbert’s music, and these eight songs will keep you captivated long into the winter months.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/lisacuthbertmusician/
To buy the album go here: https://shop.ironbonehead.de/en/
Or here (digital): https://lisacuthbert.bandcamp.com/album/hextapes
For more on the label, go here: http://www.ironbonehead.de/