Band: Christian Mistress
Album: To Your Death
Label: Relapse Records
Christian Mistress is a more recent heavy metal band that started in 2009 and have recently put out their third full-length album, To Your Death. And if you’ve ever heard their earlier stuff, you know that this album has a lot to live up to. If you aren’t familiar with them , Christian Mistress play classic-style low- to mid-tempo heavy metal with a lead vocalist (Christine Davis) who sings with the raw energy and tone of Leather Leone, but with a delivery that is a bit more refined.
This release is probably the most radio-friendly release thus far, and even though it is still very much within their established sound, it still represents a fairly salient departure from their previous works. Davis’ vocals and the songwriting are still on point, but the instrumentation seems to be slightly held back. There is still plenty of fantastic riffing and soloing going on here, but the overall feel is a more accessible record with more emphasis on composition and continuity as opposed to the stronger and heavier passages that you might have been expecting.
But I think this is a natural progression. This album is the longest of all their albums, with an average song length of more than five minutes and one song that goes past six minutes. So it seems clear that more effort has been put into crafting the songs. So what you see here are a lot of the things that you would find on previous works, but spread out a little more over the course of the album. For instance, several tracks feature acoustic interludes between longer musical passage. Others have more drawn out vocal passages, some accompanied with background harmonies (which are incredibly well executed). And at least a couple tracks on this album use musical suspense and let a single riff or musical phrase slowly build up to a climax, as in the last half of “Lone Wild” as well as “III”, which is an epic masterpiece of an instrumental track.
But lest you think that their signature sound is in any way diminished or they somehow lost their chops, you need only hear the riffs in the introduction of “Stronger than Blood” and the ending solo to know that in spite of the more subdued aura of this album, they haven’t lost a thing.
With the modern landscape of metal, classic heavy metal bands are relatively few in number compared to the vast ocean of black and death metal bands. Even fewer are those who execute this particular brand of metal exceptionally well. Even if To Your Death doesn’t quite add up to their previous efforts, those of you who gravitate to the traditional sound will likely find Christian Mistress’ latest release quite enjoyable.
Check ’em out here: http://christianmistress.bandcamp.com/