Dirt Woman’s psychedelic doom smothers senses with alluring power on debut ‘The Glass Cliff’

Photo by Kira Solomon

The young year hasn’t quite reached its quarter mark, so it’s still ripe for us to find new bands that will make lasting impacts on our year and, preferably, our listening futures. That means there are plenty of opportunities for records from fresh artists to sneak up and knock us on our asses, with said punishment totally welcomed if it means further solidifying metal’s lifeline.

That said, the Maryland-based doom psychonauts Dirt Woman have come out of the gates with their excellent five-track, 56-minute debut album “The Glass Cliff” that has pummeled our eardrums since ripping open the promo copy of the music. The band also has an interesting origin story as vocalist/guitarist Zoe Koch and drummer Gabe Solomon started their project in Ocean City, inspired by the late Donnie Corker, also known as the Dirtwoman, a cross dresser who lived in Richmond, Va., who was heavily involved in politics, music, arts, and food banks in the area. Corker also acted as a living floral arrangement for the Hamaganza holiday rock charity event that combined local dignitaries and creators. Corker’s story and activism inspired the duo, and later they were joined by guitarist Kearny Mallon and his brother and drummer Avery Mallon to round out the band, and the results from their first full-length together prove they sparked magic and are a true doom power to behold.

Lady of the Dunes” begins with heavy drone before the riffs begin to pummel, and Koch’s singing begins to infect. The track is burly and slowly melodic, flattening as more filthy guitar work slithers in, and dual lines entrance. The pace bashes as Koch’s vocals swelter and smother with the playing burning and bashing to the end. “Creator” punches for 13:09 and spits a ridiculous amount of fuzz as the track mashes away, and the music stings your senses. Koch’s singing haunts and glows as the drums leave welts on your chest, and warm static flows like a river as the power swells. The playing floats before the pace rips open, and the guitar work is from the same terrain as High on Fire and classic Sabbath. Bluesy fires rage harder, slowly melting away and crushing chests as the band creates metallic alchemy that deliberately bows out.

“Fades to Greed” begins ominously as the riffs tease, and Koch’s voice continues to command. The playing spreads and smokes your mind with the guitars spiraling and steamy speaking sprawling into the scene. The track then reopens and starts up its assault all over with psyche-washed guitars warping and everything liquifying metals. “Demagogue” runs 13:30 and has the bass quivering and the vocals penetrating as they soar into the atmosphere. The track slowly fills your head as the track goes from sweltering to outright trippy, continuing to build momentum as the waters warm up, and the leads release heat as the soloing comes in and melts. Koch’s singing hammers again before the tempo chills out, and the end is flushed in psychedelics. “Starhawk” runs 13:45 and closes the album, starting with chunky riffs and layered vocals that trip your mind. The guitars light up before dissolving into a strange haze as things hulk along and soloing tears off for the stars. Koch’s singing dominates and gets inside you as spellbinding playing increases the magic, and the band starts to unload hammers anew. As you’re being lulled into a calculated beating, the tempo suddenly shifts into a speedy barrage, bruising your eyes and bursting torches as the track comes to a thunderous finish.

Not only are the songs on Dirt Woman’s debut record “The Glass Cliff” filled with smoky, swaggering songs that overdeliver, the production sounds absolutely perfect, like you’re left with dusty sunburn when it’s all over. Koch is a killer singer out front, helping make these songs even more mesmerizing, and the rest of the band packs a punch that promises doom muscle and stoner gazing in equal amounts. This is a promising first step, and where the band goes from here is up to their smothering imaginations.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/dirtwoman.band

To buy the album, go here: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.grimoirerecords.com/

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