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Track Premiere: Palmistry – “Descent”

Okay, Vault Hunters – I realize it’s first thing Monday morning, but I’ve got a question for you…

At some point, we’ve all heard someone claim to know something ‘like the back of my hand.’ Have you ever wondered why it’s always the back, and not the palm? I don’t know for certain, but I do have a theory.

Palmistry, also occasionally known as chiromancy, has been a practice in India since possibly as far back as the 5th century B.C.E., and made its way to Greece in time for Alexander the Great to have become fascinated by it in the mid-4th century B.C.E. It became fashionable again in (where else) Victorian England, and then spread across the rest of Europe and then to North America. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the practice is likely well aware of how much information can be gleaned from the shape, lines, and other markings on a person’s palm – such an abundance of information that the idea that anyone can truly ‘know’ the palm of his or her hand is actually kind of laughable…

If Canadian duo Palmistry aren’t quite as mysterious as the art from which they derive their name, then they’re pretty damn close. Part of that stems from deceptiveness (sleight of hand?) with which they approach their songcraft. At first blush, their debut long-player Behold! seems to have come straight out of the Lief Edling school of occult-flavored doom. Listen a bit closer, though, and there’s a lot more than just Candlemass worship going on here, though. For one thing, C.B. – the multi-instrumentalist of the duo – clearly knows spells that other doomcasters don’t. There’s no shortage of sinister-sounding riffs among the myriad Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard devotees of the contemporary doom scene, but much like the Star Child told Sir Nose about the Funk, you can’t fake the kind of ancient magicks that are etched like runes into every note of the five incantations that comprise Behold! 

That being said, the most powerful elements of Palmistry’s arcane doom rituals come courtesy of vocalist K.B. Do not make the mistake of hitting play on “Descent,” the track we’re streaming here this morning at the Vault, and expecting her to be another pseudo-hippie Earth mother type or Stevie Nicks wannabe. Calling her an eldritch chanteuse might actually be closer to the truth – her uncommon range, unique phrasing, and tendency to sing almost anything other than the expected melody line adds up to one of the most hypnotic vocal performances I’ve ever heard on a doom album.

Behold! will be available on Feb. 8 directly from Palmistry’s Bandcamp page (preorder here). Get your first taste of the album by checking out “Descent” below. I’d strongly advise listening with a grounding stone – something strong, like black tourmaline or hematite – somewhere on your person, lest you end up being completely carried away.

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