Monday 23 March 2020

High Priestess - Casting The Circle (Album Review)

Release date: April 10th 2020. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Casting The Circle – Tracklisting

1.Casting the Circle 05:10
3.The Hourglass 06:46
5.Ave Satanas


Katie Gilchrest: Guitar / Vocals
Megan "Whiplash" Mullins: Drums
Mariana Fiel: Bass / Vocals


High Priestess new album Casting The Circle carries on the band’s style of Psychedelic Doom Metal first heard on their celebrated 2018 debut album. The band are also continuing their journey with Ripple Music and you know my thoughts already about that great label. I saw High Priestess play a local shitty dive in my home-town of Newcastle Upon Tyne when they supported Cities Of Mars on their European Tour. And they exceeded my expectations with their blend of heavy based Occult/Doom/Psych Rock outlook on life.

So I was eagerly looking forward to this album and it doesn’t disappoint. This hugely talented power-trio know most importantly at how to write an excellent riff and add cool melodic vocals to the mix. The atmosphere is always evolving with moments of Classic Doom Rock/Metal spliced with the modern sounding Psychedelic Stoner Metal vibes that seem quite bleak and brooding at times.

The opening two songs – Casting The Circle and Erebus – shows you that the band have spent the past two years honing their craft and playing some deeply heavy Progressive Sounds that combine everything good from the last 40 years or so of Hard Rock/Metal but still pushing the boundaries of the genre even further.

Both songs are slowly played but High Priestess know when to move things up a gear and allow the album to become a heavier “out-of-body” experience where the riffs ultimately consume you. The lyrics are emotionally poetic and the vocals just add an extra layer of class to the overall flow and feel of the album. This is still very much a Doom Metal album but High Priestess but their own unique spin on things and it’s quite emotionally distant whilst still offering a warm natured and addictive approach as well.

The album does have a “Drone” based quality to it where the music lingers from one dramatic heavy moment to the next. High Priestess pay homage to their musical heroes past and present quite often on this release and still sound very much their own band.

Third song – Hourglass – opens with a Classic Doom/Garage Rock riff that has a distorted 70s crazed sound to it all and the beautifully played “Blues Rock” vibe soon gives way to a heavier style of Psychedelic based Doom/Stoner Rock. The lush lead vocals from Katie are always thrilling but she’s superbly backed up by Megan and Mariana who offer a bewitching style when singing in unison.

The real standout and highlight of the album is the 17 minute plus epic of Invocation. This song feels like a mini-rock opera with it’s many different strands of music that the band put together. Expect this song to go in quite a few different directions with the band focusing mostly on Progressive Doom/Stoner Metal with a deep appreciation for Classic Rock, Prog Rock and Heavy Metal.

High Priestess are aiming for bigger and better things on this album and they succeed on every level. As this is the type of album that could raise their profile even further within the Doom/Stoner Metal Community.

Overall, Casting The Circle is a bewitching journey into the darkness of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal that will surprise you in many different ways. This is an essential album to own. No doubt….

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo. Casting The Circle will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Ripple Music on April 10th 2020.