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Best of Tacoma 2015: Best Metal Band

Lozen

Lozen may be gone, but will no doubt come roaring back. Facebook photo

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For roughly a decade, one of the most compelling live acts in Washington has been a two-piece alt-metal band called Lozen. With just drums and guitar, Hozoji Matheson-Margullis and Justine Maria Valdez composed bone-rattling, minimalist bits of stomping sound. Unimpeded by the complications of other instruments, Lozen was able to channel their tribal sound into songs so laser-focused and innately powerful that it was impossible to look away or turn them down.

Lozen got its start in Bellingham, after the two high school friends started jamming. A friend of theirs gave them a book called Warrior Woman, about an Apache warrior named Lozen, and things sort of effortlessly fell into place. Once Matheson-Margullis' other band had to drop out of a gig, Lozen came in to replace them, and the rest was history. After 10 years and several albums, Lozen had established themselves on the forefront of South Sound bands, doing more with two instruments than most bands do with five.

From the opening vocals of their most recent EP, Daddy Didn't Teach Us No Shame, it's immediately clear why they became so beloved. Beginning with just the two women's voices in eery harmony before guitar and drums come crashing in, "Unnatural Disaster" establishes their MO of needing to play with the format of metal and hard rock. A repeated chant is all the lyrical backbone they need, backed by wiry guitars and muscular drums. Completely unadorned by extraneous effects, it's impossible to listen to them without picturing their commanding stage presence.

Recently, Lozen announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus. As they put it, they would be "sealing (their) chrysalis," which is an unfortunate bit of news. Still, it seems as though this is not definitively the period on the end of the sentence that is Lozen. It seems as if Valdez will be starting a new adventure in California, but I'm fairly certain that we have not seen the end of Lozen. With warrior women like them, it's only a matter of time before we hear them come roaring back - in whatever form that may take.

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