The last time we had an influx of female vocalists onto the scene, we were presented with the likes of Laura Marling and Florence Welch, which was fine in a Pretty Girls with Pretty Voices kind of way. Of late though, we’ve had a few proper ball-busters stomping about, such as the deep and sensual Bat For Lashes and the ethereal and sinister Fever Ray, and we may now add Zola Jesus, aka Nika Roza Danilova, to the list.

Wrapped in menacing synth drone and sombre, resolute percussion, Danilova’s classically trained voice is at once strong, supple, wrenchingly emotive and utterly terrifying. As Zola Jesus, she paints apocalyptic aural canvases, her desperate shrieks of, “How will we survive” on ‘Manifest Destiny’ creating a sense of chaos, while her empowered mantra, “This will all be yours” suggests that not only is this woman ready to face the impending apocalypse, she’s orchestrating the bloody thing. A challenging record, yet oddly accessible and completely thrilling.

By Polly Rappaport

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