When the first thing you see on a band’s Last.FM page is a figure like Fenriz of Darkthrone proclaiming his love and admiration for them and how they play the exact way he enjoys, you can assume that this could be worth a look. This is doubly true if it is a band that goes by the name of Christian Mistress, on the highly respected Relapse label.
Christian Mistress have a sound which manages to be firmly rooted in both the vintage, yet sound very modern at the same time. They have a very bluesy rock/metal sound and feel about them not far removed from (using a modern example) Rival Sons, combined with Sabbath sized and styled doomy riffs in places, and an air of occult rock and influence much like the Ghosts and Ancient VVisdoms of the world. The latter two are certainly a prominent reference point for shared influences when it comes to the use of occult/satanic imagery within Christian Mistress’s lyrical content, such as with song titles like “Pentagram And Crucifix” and “Haunted Hunted”. At times as well there are slower, almost folk like passages that certainly bring Ancient VVisdom to mind, especially on the intros to “The Way Beyond” and closing track “All Abandon”.
The band themselves give a striking performance, with stacks of very memorable hooks and riffs big enough to park a car in. The show, however, is most definitely stolen by front woman Christine Davis, who gives a staggering and often unpredictable display. Her voice is perfectly suited to the music which at first glance (well, listen) is quite unassuming, but beneath the surface has a darkness about it; and she gives it an extra level of character and uniqueness with her irregularity. A fine voice when singing on slower parts such as the early part of “There Is Nowhere”, as well as being a fine suited rock style singing voice for bluesier numbers elsewhere; at times she even comes across as being in an almost trance like state, almost warbling in delivery, but in a way that once again suits the eerie nuances of the music perfectly. A serious talent.
Going in to this I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Christian Mistress, not having any experience of them before, but “Possession” has been a hugely triumphant effort. An album that is both very dark in places, yet with enough hooks to make you want to tap your feet away and maybe even dance like a buffoon. A great work.