Gazelle Amber Valentine // Devil's Tower I - Digital album of 'brutal folk' by Jucifer's axe-wielding half

"A soft polarity to the warlike, amp worshiping persona GAV wields fronting Jucifer. These are small stark songs, bravely divest of volume. Voice, guitar, banjo and barely-present drums build naked silhouettes to stand precariously before a lowering sky"

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Gazelle Amber Valentine is known primarily for her work in the band Jucifer. In context of Jucifer's live shows, Gazelle is known as an intense stage presence who both inspires and terrorizes audiences with her screams, growls, and uber heavy guitar riffs powered by "Thee White Wall Ov Doom" --- her infamous, enormous, literal wall of speakers.

But those who have explored Jucifer's entire catalog know the banshee-voiced heavy metal "Queen of Amp Mountain" is only one of many personae for Valentine. Over the band's career they have recorded many tracks which bear little in common with that description; tracks which are relatively soft and light, or dark but quiet; in which critics have found reason to praise Gazelle's substantial vocal range and her ability to lead listeners through many different sonic and emotional spaces.

Here for the first time is a full album's worth of that softer side from the sludge metal icon. Sung warmly and sweetly for the most part (no screaming!) and with lyrics alternately wistful, vulnerable, witchy, wise, lamenting, and tongue in cheek, 'Devil's Tower I' hearkens to Valentine's early appreciation for artists like Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.

Once in awhile you'll hear a glint of iron beneath the softness, but that's only to be expected. Brief intervals of rain only add to this Sunday afternoon, hair of the dog, move onward towards redemption little record.