Review Summary: Folk in the moonlight, in front of a camp fire, sang by a witch….
By now the amount of doom metal musicians professing their admiration for Townes Van Zandt and putting out a country record is getting out of hand. However, within this peculiar niche of the sub-genre, the debut solo album from Windhand vocalist Dorthia Cottrell is miles ahead of anything her contemporaries have released….
Cottrell first made her way into my speakers by way of her main gig, Richmond, Virginia doom trippers Windhand, whose most recent full-length, Soma, is literally one of the best albums I’ve ever heard…. Dorthia Cottrell’s solo record is a bulldozer of acoustic ambiance and stark vocal revery. All that muscle beneath Windhand’s racket has been laid bare….
This album is small, modest and heartbreaking. It benefits from the panoply of instruments utilized by the honest; buoyed along by the sheer intention of Cottrell’s voice, it will silently sing itself into your heart, squeeze and caress the right places, and finally leave you in tears….
Not only is Dorthia one of the more captivating singers in doom, but she is now proving that she has the ability to draw attention in other styles of music as well….
Cottrell is truly one of the great metal vocalists of our time, but at heart, she’s a troubadour in a timeless folk tradition, with a gift for telling stories and her gaze fixed toward the darkness….
Apart from fans of Windhand, the Virginia-based doom-metal band she anchors as singer and lyricist, Dorthia Cottrell is an unknown pleasure. Criminally so, but her new debut solo album will change that. “Dorthia Cottrell” is a work of savage beauty, a collection of folk-blues songs as lustrous as they are foreboding….. An artist of Cottrell’s caliber was bound to step into the light, even as darkness surrounds her…..
The singer of the uber doom metal act Windhand has offered transcending vocal deliveries in all the releases from the band, from their self-titled full-length, to the insane split with fellow doomsters Cough, to the unbelievable Soma. With her debut solo album, Cottrell steps away from the doom of Windhand, and travels towards an acoustic folk compilation of songs with a psychedelic twist, which showcases her voice in the most incredible way conceivable….
Like other doom-metal singers before her — Saint Vitus’ Wino, Neurosis frontmen Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till — Cottrell channels the lonelier and darker side of Americana, even going so far as to cover classic tunes by Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt. Those are good places to start with Cottrell, but to me, her voice resides somewhere between Mark Lanegan’s husky howl and Lucinda Williams’ desperate heartache, with a breathier heft that gives me the vapors…..
Dorthia Cottrell, the album, is spare in structure — all built around an acoustic guitar and that timeless, miraculous voice — but massive in sound. Cottrell makes every breath count…. She’s always sounded great, but she’s never sounded better than this….
Richmond doomers Windhand’s success is 100% due to not only the bowel-quaking riffs, but also the heartbreaking voice of one Dorthia Cottrell. And while the dichotomy between the two forces is what makes Windhand such an important band in the doom metal realm, Cottrell has broken out on her own to record her own self-titled effort for Forcefield Records. With a voice akin to Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, and more modern heartbreakers like Angel Olsen…