Lioness: The Golden Killer
Formed from the late controller.controller’s rhythm section of bassist Ronnie Morris and drummer Jeff Scheven plus vocalist Vanessa Fischer, Lioness debuted with a self-titled Ep, which spawned the hot single "You’re My Heart" and wicked Internet buzz. On it Lioness roared with diversity, range and a promising neoGoth rock sensibility. That was followed by a stream of remixes, which didn’t do much to advance the sound for but did build anticipation for the album.
Four years later, this is it and it’s as if the band’s back from poking about in clubland. Gone are the funkified backlines, hangovers from their CC past, replaced by angular, minimalist instrumentation, as the band embraces fully their spooky Goth side with arrangements like splintered crosses on which to hang Fischer’s vocals.
The album art lays it out hard and heavy, with Fischer doing that Witch Queen thing on the inner sleeve, hands placed on the exposed skulls of two obedient skeletons kneeling beside her. That said, her vocals totally back up the image, both a good and bad thing.
The Golden Killer opens with dirgelike instrumental “ Procession”, which leads not to a place of rest but to the gates of Hades as the fuzzed-out fury of “Toxic Heat” brings Fischer’s voodoo blues vocal into play, setting the tone as firmly in place as a dagger in the heart.
No question that Fischer’s theatrical vocals are the big draw here but as the disc plays on, a certain sameness creeps in. Whether this is a matter of the material playing too fawningly to the lady’s style or inchoate material forcing to her to overplay every hand, it tends to take away from the later tracks.
A tune like “Golden Thorn” might have been better left alone to go its Gothy dance clubby way minus the gussied-up synths.
Still, Fischer brings a formidable authority to the ones that are nailed. “ The Night” comes on with a bright melody pushed to the max with all Fischer’s got, morphing into a slow burn Goth metal climax.
Fans are already dancing in the streets but there are enough moments of genuine rock’n’roll menace to satisfy the casual listener.