Nghtcrwlr - Let The Children Scream
Having spent a decade as the front women for metal outfit King Woman, multi-talented NYC-based artist Kris Esfandiari is once again changing shapes with the launch of her latest solo endeavor, NGHTCRWLR. A mixture of drone, harsh noise and industrial sounds, it's an entirely different beast from anything Esfandiari has ever released and a project that's been incubating for the better part of two years. The music has only been available to experience live when Esfandiari opened for Boy Harsher on their 2019 tour, but the time has finally come for NGHTCRWLR to see the light of day. Esfandiari's debut album as NGHTCRWLR, Let the Children Scream, is a carnival of chaos. Riding on a wave of all-consuming noise that steadily falls into lock-step, its opening track "Bolt (RIP Miss Maryam 999)" sets the tone like a sinister omen before launching full throttle into the terrifying 808-stuffed title track. With a name like "Let the Children Scream" it's not like anyone expected puppies and cuddles, but Esfandiari's combination of screamo vocals with eerie found audio clips manages to bring the air of dread to surprising bone-chilling extremes. Esfandiari finds new ways to unsettle with every turn, whether is be through screw-tightening sirens on the chorus of "Daymare" or the swirling reverb effects of "Shine!" that skitter like a nest of centipedes scattering. Feelings of paranoia and terror are pervasive throughout, but stop short of overwhelming its more danceable moments. Like a Santigold cover of Marilyn Manson, the fire and brimstone of Let the Children Scream momentarily clears for one of the album's more lucid moments on "Nation Under Creep" — counterbalance for the controlled cacophony that dominates the rest of the album.