There’s a lot to like about Lilith Czar. She does her best to fight misogynistic behavior in an industry filled with so much of it, adds another voice to the female empowerment movement, and still cranks out well thought out anthems worthy of the early praise garnered. Lilith Czar (formerly Juliet Simms) “killed” off her old identity in the track “All American,” in an attempt to distance herself from a person she no longer identified with as an artist. On Created From Filth and Dust, Lilith Czar channels her inner rock queen to deliver an album filled with dark tones, heavy synth-laden beats, and with just enough silver linings to ensure that the material doesn’t get too heavy. With so much new momentum going in her favor, it’s hard to not buy in to the controlled chaos she presents on this record.
The album kicks off with a brief collection of voices in the form of “Intro Poem” that uses some of the imagery to blend nicely into the blast of female-fronted rock with “Feed My Chaos.” Czar gets deep into her new “character” of sorts as she ponders, “Am I the symptom or am I cynical? / Am I the scissors or the umbilical? / A sinner and a saint / The monster that you made / The god you killed when you said my name.” The contrasts she presents on the aggressive song work pretty well as she never sounds unauthentic in this reinvention.
The first single, “King,” starts off with a down-trodden synth beat that Czar bellows over the track in the first verse that eventually explodes into the chorus of, “If it’s a man’s world, I wanna be king / If it’s a man’s world / Don’t wanna be queen / If it’s a man’s world bringing me down / If it’s a man’s world wearing the crown / If it’s a man’s world / I wanna be, I wanna be king.” She bats down all of the misogyny by directly tackling the issue of society’s expectations for each gender, and she throws all of those preconceived notions into a blender.
”Anarchy” showcases Lilith Czar’s impressive vocal range on the heartfelt chorus of, “You and me / We are like anarchy / Fuck your authority / I’ll make my own / If you fight me / You’re fighting a whole army / I make no apologies / If you push me too far / Who the hell do you think you are?” It’s clear that she has no interest in getting too bogged down with the supposed gender norms that our society puts on women, and it’s clear that she seeks this momentous time for her moment to shine.
The album takes a slight U-turn with the Juliet Simms credited song “100 Little Deaths,” where she sings about some deep thematic elements related to the process of self-discovery. Simms sings on the second verse, “Bless my soul singing my Hail Marys / Cause no one here gets out alive / I was born between the church and the devil / In the dirt with one hand to the sky / Well you just never know if there’s a gift in the curse / You just never know if there’s a gift in the hurt / You just never know if there’s a gift in the curse / One truth, while you live you will die.” She provides a glimpse into the duality of the character she created on this album, and still enables Simms with a voice to get her message out.
”Lola” is more of a departure than anything else on the album, as she rocks out a meaningful power ballad worthy of rock and roll royalty. She pays direct homage to her classic rock influences such as David Bowie, Stevie Nicks and Queen in the first verse as she sings passionately, “Grew up on Spiders from Mars / A Queen Bitch kissing the sky / FLA straight to the jungle / One way ticket / On a one way ride / Singing someday I will touch the stars / One day I’ll be breaking hearts / But innocence is lonely in the dark.” The impressive vocal range shown on this song speaks to her ability to match her lofty goals for this album and still having the chops to back up her swagger. A Stevie Nick’s cover of “Edge of Seventeen” is thrown in the middle of the sequencing, and she plays the track pretty true to the original composition.
”Bad Love” is the last song on Created From Filth and Dust credited to Juliet Simms and she describes a complex relationship. Simms sings on the first verse about this toxic lover, “You give me roses / And I light them on fire / I say I love you / And you tell me I’m a liar / It’s like an angel / Kissing the devil / And it’s toxic but it works / Beautiful when it hurts.” What she does well on this song is by bringing meaning to each and every lyric through her vocal delivery by showcasing the vulnerability of each of the complex words and their ultimate result.
The heavy synths come back on “In My Head,” which reminded me of the dark, brooding style of K. Flay’s recent work. The closing trio of “Unholy,” “Burn With Me,” and “Diamonds to Dust” are a nice way to close out an album filled with plenty of female power anthems that pack a significant punch. My personal favorite on the back half of the songs was “Burn With Me” that rocks in a similar fashion as Simms’ Automatic Loveletter band, and she sounds as energized as she’s ever been.
The songs on Created From Filth and Dust are well thought out, feel authentic, and still showcase an artist willing to take a few new risks along the way. Lilith Czar seems to take on multiple personalities as she battles her former self in Juliet Simms, and yet she breaks out in a big way by displaying that rock songs are from a “man’s world.” Much like the new Miley Cyrus record, Plastic Hearts, Lilith Czar is taking bold new steps in her continued metamorphosis in establishing herself as an artist fed up with the status quo.