Album Review :: Vagina Witchcraft :: Vagina Witchcraft

by Daniel Kussy

Above a barrage of sludgy stoner riffs, Kayla Fernandes’ banshee screams fill the room with smoke encapsulating a lifetime of anger, possessed and undermined by their demons. “I am the fucking Devil” cries Fernandes on the opening lines of “Mercury.”

Vagina Witchcraft’s debut LP is a definitive labour of love. Fernandes’ anguish is an embodiment of their internal battle with their empathetic self (on “Starting Over,” “the mistakes, the tiny moments, I’m learning how to heal”)  and the will to preserve their relationship with their blackness, as on display in the intro track; a speech given by Fernandes.

“I am an entity, I am courage, I am love, I am unfinished, I am not your sassy black friend I am not exotic, I will not spit a rhyme for you, I will not twerk for your amusement.” The result of such struggles bathe Fernandes with endearment and empowerment, within themselves and abroad their community, with praise sent from as far as Cancer Bats Frontman Liam Cormier.

Despite a short track list, the tracks are quite lengthy, as the instrumentation really sinks into a sludgy, yet firmly metal foundation with David Dobbs at the helm of producer. The slow burn track “No Sinners” is a solid banger that’s constantly aggressive and thick in tone that carries into “Alvvays,” released prior as a single. Fernandes’ vocal performance leaves everything on the floor in a painfully liberating fashion (“my bones are built on ruin”).

The emotional labour of compounding such trauma into poetic lyricism sears the foundational traditions of stoner metal, clearing the pallet, and allowing bands like Vagina Witchcraft to carve out a new path for other marginalized artists. Sabbath would be proud.

For fans of: Black Sabbath, Thou, Divide and Dissolve, Pentagram

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