VICTORIA K – Kore (2022)
Australian 4-piece VICTORIA K are releasing their new album “Kore” today, and while the band tag can be female-fronted progressive symphonic rock / metal, the band go beyond that. “Kore” is kinda different among the overcrowded albums from the genre, and one of the aces for that is lead vocalist Victoria Knight – her distinctive way of sing sets the group apart from the rest.
I could eulogize on and on about her scope and the way she lets each note hang in the air with such grace and intelligence you’d think she was older than her tender young age. Not only is her voice something that will delight you and haunt you in equal parts, but it’s also matched by the power of the band that backs her on this record.
Placing Victoria Knight in the symphonic metal category is to me a slight misnomer. Because I think truly she has created her own unique metal category here.
”Kore” is a concept album, an epic tale of ancient Greek mythology the tale of Persephone the daughter of Zeus the king of the gods and Demeter the goddess of Agriculture. Who is also known as Kore. She becomes the queen of the underworld after her abduction by Hades her uncle.
And her temporary return to the surface heralds spring. I have simplified what is a very touching and dramatic part of the Greek origin story. But not so Victoria K in an ambitious and beautifully thought out the album she sets out to tell the story in 11 parts each one not just one part but the sum of all.
The tracks were written specifically to encapsulate the various sections of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and tell the story chronologically through each song and the music grows in intensity throughout the record capturing the emotional state of Persephone and other characters as the story progresses.
The various instruments on “Kore” were then written by Victoria around the lyrics and further enhanced and developed through the production process.
Producer Lee Bradshaw then finalized the songs by writing orchestral scores for each song, which were recorded live in Europe, before the final mixing and mastering – and that gives the albums a special touch.
Well, consider all the work put into this album a resounding success. Every track is full of great lyrics, well developed and felt emotions and feelings expressed. Each track can be randomly enjoyed, stand alone. But you will want to listen to the entire story. It is that good.
The symphonic and progressive twists are all over the record. Put on headphones to appreciate all of the intricacies and quiet moments, no matter how few.
Among the favorites are “Mother’s Garden” with its beckoning keyboards, blitzing electric guitars and those pace-setting drums. The quiet, more symphonic moments, when Victoria Knight is singing softly are magical. “The Child”, opens with soft vocals from Victoria, along with symphonic orchestration, before the drums and guitars join in. The strings and soft chords which play near the end of the piece are stunning.
“A Divine Revelation”, is a highlight. Victoria’s depth of character and love for this story can be felt with every note she sings. She is “alive” in this story as if it were real. You can feel it in her vocal delivery. So much time and effort was put into delivering the lyrics and story in just the right way. I take my hat off to her and the band for trying to bring such a powerful story to life with music.
“Tower”, is the longest and perhaps the strongest song on the album. Victoria’s singing, especially the Greek verses; Julia Mammone’s absolutely brilliant guitar solos, and those drums, yes, James Davies’ drums rocked the house. There’s also Charlie Curnow middle song big bass section – he also does some growl vocals, but while these balance the sound and make the story more adversarial, I would have leave Victoria vocals alone. Anyway, it’s a very good song.
“Epilogue”, is a wonderful soft piano fade out that closes the album perfectly
For those who wish female sympho metal bands would expand their sound into more progressive themes, with full concept albums, this is your cup of tea. They did it here. Drink up this glorious, fermented concept album of Ancient Greek mythology and literature. Enjoy a story laid before your ears from a singer born of the homeland for which she sings. The emotions she must have felt in bringing this concept to life must have been overwhelming.
Sit back and enjoy the work this band put into this elaborated albums, rich in details.
01 – Prologue
02 – Raptum
03 – Mothers’ Garden
04 – The Child
05 – Persephone
06 – A Divine Revelation
07 – Tower
08 – Blasphemia
09 – Pomegranate
10 – The Afterlife
11 – Epilogue
Victoria Knight – lead vocals
Julia Mammone – guitar
Charlie Curnow – bass, vocals
James Davies – drums