When Nathaniel Hawthorne conceived Hester Prynne, the Puritan good-girl-gone-bad who serves as the protagonist of The Scarlet Letter, his 1850 romantic morality play, he cast her as a perfectly dichotomous example of humanity. Prynne was chaste yet sexual, virtuous yet lusty, liberated yet chained to cultural expectation, flawed but redeemable.
It very well could be that the Kansas City Deathcore/Doom Metal outfit that formed in 2006 and christened themselves after Hawthorne’s knocked up 17th-century heroine had the same kind of dichotomy in mind. Melodic yet noisy, technically precise yet wildly chaotic, growled and shrieked vocals from the recesses of hell … OK, that one’s pretty consistent and perhaps also flawed yet redeemable.
Two years after emerging from the KC scene, Hester Prynne released its second EP, Brothel, which earned the band a great deal of attention and wound up securing them a contract with Torque and a distribution deal with Victory, which has become one of the world’s premier Metal/Hardcore labels.
In 2009, Hester Prynne unleashed its debut full-length, The Goswell Divorce, an album that was cited in the Hardcore/Metal community as one of the top releases of the year. The album’s critical success and HP’s relentless touring raised the band’s profile exponentially, earning the group stage time with the likes of Decrepit Birth, Black Dahlia Murders, Suicide Silence and many others, as well as a number of headlining treks (including the current Don’t Call It a Comeback Tour). The band was reportedly not overly pleased with their Torque deal and opted out while in the middle of working on a sophomore full-length.Hester Prynne wears its brutal beauty like the scarlet letter of its namesake, volume and aggression radiating from the music in lethal and quite possibly irredeemable waves. It’s Hester Prynne for the new millennium.
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