Christian Mistress - Possession
Record Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: February 28, 2012
It can be difficult sometimes to judge just how much sincerity there is to so-called "throwback" rock. Groups such as The Darkness or Jet were often criticized for a perceived lack of true regard for the music they were claiming to be reviving. Detractors wrote such bands off as mere pillagers of classic rock rather than genuine artists writing from the heart. Such precaution is not needed when approaching the music of Olympia, Washington based outfit Christian Mistress. The band plays a distinctly retro brand of metal that owes largely to genre forefathers Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, doing so without once sounding hackneyed or insincere. Sounding as if it just stepped out of 1981, fresh on the emergence of the British metal scene, Possession is a refreshing taste of riff-oriented rock that is at once a genuine love letter to the early days of NWOBHM as it is a unique new voice in the current metal scene.
Chock full of meaty riffs and bluesy solos, the record is evidence that Christian Mistress have indeed done their homework. The abundant guitar solos are catchy and memorable, showcasing tandem lead guitar work that is as fun to air guitar along with as it is to listen to. On top of all the flashy fretwork and musical callbacks is lead vocalist Christine Davis, whose smoky, sultry voice adds a fresh female element to the music, a refreshing touch in a largely male-populated genre. Far from the high-pitched vocal acrobatics of Paul Di'Anno or Rob Halford, Davis' voice is soft and alluring but never phoned-in or boring. However this is no mere gimmick, as her voice is the perfect foil for the band's hard-driving rock n' roll, helping keep things relatively laid back and smooth. It's a pleasant surprise to come across bands like Christian Mistress. In a genre where sincerity is often dubious and the lines between throwback and revival are often blurred to the point of being nonexistent, Christian Mistress are a prime example of a band who wear their influences proudly on their sleeve but never rely on regurgitated styles or trends to carry them forward.
Recommended if You Like:
Iron Maiden's Killers
Ghost's Opus Eponymous
Priestess' Prior To The Fire