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High Priestess Inject Drone into Doom on “Despise”

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While the tag “doom” may be the easiest way to describe what Los Angeles-based trio High Priestess do, it barely scratches the surface. As this band is exploring the wider world around us, a good chunk of their peers are caught up in retro witch-and-warlock kitsch. “Despise,” a standout track from their 2017 demo soon to be re-released on their upcoming self-titled debut full-length album, works well as a survey of everything the band has to offer. Stream it below.

Guitarist Katie Gilchrist has impressive playing chops, weaving Eastern-tinged acoustic passages which subtly recall Nancy Wilson at her “Crazy On You” best. This gives way to drummer Megan Mullins laying down an understated tribalistic beat, while bassist/co-singer Mariana Fiel’s ethereally lovely voice floats over top.

Lulled into a false sense of security, all three suddenly kick “Despise” into full gear, replete with a thundering roar and distorted tones of the gods. Mullins channels Jason Roeder in her deliberate, Hulk-smash approach, while Gilchrist and Fiel harmonize perfectly over the big, droning — and most importantly, memorable — riffs. Fiel’s harsh growl is more jungle cat than lumbering mammoth, and it dovetails seamlessly into the vibe that “Despise” is immersed in.

New discoveries await on each repeat listen; the same can be said for the rest of the album. It’s not every day you can call some heavy psychedelic doom “refreshing,” but High Priestess is just that. The world is theirs.

Here’s what the band has to say about the song

“The riff on “Despise” was originally intended for a sludge / noise side project but then Megan and Katie came along and we connected to it, so it became the brute force it is now.”

— Mariana

High Priestess releases via Ripple Music on May 18th.

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