Released: 2012, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Mark my words kids, you will be hearing A LOT about Christian Mistress in 2012. The band’s sophomore full length (and first for Relapse Records), POSSESSION, is about to hit the streets, and dammit if this isn’t a fantastic way to start the New Year off properly.
Point 1 – The band’s got a sound that’s so traditional and bare bones that it’s absolutely f@#K!ng refreshing to hear. Think Iron Maiden’s KILLERS having a tryst with late 70’s Pentagram, while listening to Mercyful Fate’s MELISSA in the background. It’s got enough punch to appeal to metal purists, enough smoky haze for the stoners to get on board, and enough dark tones in the riffs to please everybody.
Point 2 – Christian Mistress vocalist Christine Davis is amazing. She’s got a throaty, accented brogue that’s both seductive and powerful. Listening to POSSESSION, the two comparative names that kept coming to mind were Heart’s Ann Wilson and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott. It’s such a unique and potent delivery, the added color and character that her voice provides to the album cannot be overstated. And the fact that she’s got two X chromosomes isn’t exploited or put on display to generate interest (I’m talking to you, every other female fronted metal band).
Point 3 – Simply said, POSSESSION is an excellent album. Galloping metal strides? Check. Punchy bar room grooves? Check. Wailing guitar harmonies? Double check. Catchy tunes with walloping riffs that will put a boot up your ass? You know it…
I think what’s so appealing about POSSESSION is that it sounds 100% natural, uncontrived. The production is relatively dry, and save for a handful of backing vocals, it sounds like songs were captured live on the spot in a rehearsal session. And we haven’t even touched on the songs themselves yet. There’s nary a bum track to be found on POSSESSION, with the tunes varying from straight up METAL to smoky bar room laments to occult rock fist pumpers. Check out standout cuts like the opening ripper “Over & Over,” the dark swing of “The Way Beyond,” and the outstanding panic of “All Abandon.” You will love POSSESSION, I know I do.
Christian Mistress is one of those bands that is every bit as good as the hype will lead you to believe. Well crafted, well executed, and an all around good time, POSSESSION hits all the right buttons at just the right time. Kudos to team Relapse for continuing to broaden their artist roster with releases like this, hopefully their PR muscle will do this album the justice that it deserves. POSSESSION won’t see a release until late February, but check out their Relapse Records page for pre-order info.