Princess - Selling Sulphur
Made In China Records
Sludge Metal / Grunge
6 songs (24' 13")
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Andy

Yes, the band name sounds a little like it ought to be goth or power metal, but this princess is made of sterner stuff. Hailing from my area of the world, the Pacific Northwest, and channelling the deep traditions of Seattle grunge mixed with plenty of metal flavor, Princess's sound is a whirlwind of noisy but artistic metal that has a small amount of melody and an endless supply of riffs as compelling as the many early Seattle acts that influenced them. Though this is an EP, one gets a reasonably generous set of six songs.

The band's focus on minimalism in their tunes provides good returns; frontman Andrew Chapman alternates between hoarse shouts and crooned choruses in The Desert Deep, the first track, but the drum-and-bass pumping of Samantha Wilder and Gator respectively is what really sets the rhythm for this album, and make no mistake, this is a band that knows how to use rhythms to squeeze the maximum heaviness out of their songs. In This House is an echoing set of guitar riffs vaguely reminiscent of the early days of Soundgarden, or perhaps Jane's Addiction, with quiet, fast-paced passages filled with feedback-laced guitar always on the verge of blasting the listener with noise. After an instrumental break with gentle but noisy guitar comes Shaka, another fast-tempo, punk-inspired dose of heaviness, but much tighter and disciplined, less chaotic than In This House.

There's something anthemic about Princess's music, possibly because of the often dramatic delivery Chapman has; in Ringing Vale, for example, his initial shouted pronouncements over the mid-tempo first part are made to sound profound, almost Biblical in their mysterious intensity. And when the song speeds up to the tempo of a punk song, his choruses get more melodic and fit perfectly with the warmer tone of the music; this track, and the final fade-out instrumental (not quite an instrumental, as it does have wordless vocalizations), have the unplanned feel of a jam session.

Selling Sulphur is an easily likeable EP that reveals a lot of promise in Princess. Every member delivers a dazzling performance, and together they can produce some interesting songs that are still tremendously heavy. One can't wait to see a full-length album out of them.

Bandcamp: http://princess.bandcamp.com/releases.

Killing Songs :
In This House, Ringing Vale
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